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Best Business Ideas For Small Towns In America

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Recently I wrote an article on revitalizing a small town community.  Part of that, as mentioned is the type of businesses that are brought into said small towns. This post is all about the best business ideas for small towns in America. These shops will make people want to come in and do their shopping.

1 – Coffee Shop – This one is a given. Every small town needs a coffee shop. Sure, Dunkin Donuts, McDonald’s, and Starbucks are great. But, have you ever gone into a small town coffee shop? The atmosphere is unlike anything else. My own small town bias is our coffee shop, Wholly Grounds :).
best business ideas for small towns

2 – Ice Cream Shop – This one, of course, is another given. Where else would we hang out after the Friday night football games?

3 – Pizza Shop – Everyone loves pizza! And since it’s not a large city with three shops on each block, we have to make them count. A lot of small towns have bigger chains that come in. Pizza Hut, Domino’s anyone? But small town pizza places are wonderful too!

4 – Dry Cleaner/Clothing Alterations – This is best as an all in one shop. Even people in small town America have big corporate jobs and of the dry clean only clothing that goes with those city jobs!

5 – Pharmacy – Pharmacies definitely make the top five best business ideas for small towns. People get sick.  Who wants to drive half an hour to get medicine if needed?

best business ideas for small towns

6 – Auto Repair Shops/Gas Stations – Am I the only one imagining the TV shows (since I wasn’t alive to remember it first hand) where you pull into the gas station, the bell rings, the workers come out to pump your gas, clean your windows and make sure your tires have enough air? If there isn’t a repair shop close by, they would do great in a small town. Cuts down on the towing bill for the customer if the car can’t be moved!

7 – Florist – With the many open fields that may grow flowers? A florist shop is perfect. And of course, for that spouse in the dog house, a florist shop on the way home is very convenient :).

8 – Computer Repair – I know! People in smaller towns have computers too!

9 – Beauty/Hair Salon, Barber Shops – Having one in a small town would make great business sense. A lot of customer base, not a lot of competition.

best business ideas for small towns

10 – Tea Shop – Not to be confused with a coffee shop. The tea shop I speak of would have samples for people to try. The loose leaf selection availability for customers to select, bag up and take home.

11 – Spice shop – Totally going to throw a review in here. No, I was not compensated for this. (Although, I found out they have an affiliate link. So I did apply!) When I went to Tennessee in August for the Solar Eclipse, we met up with a friend of my son’s in Franklin TN. OMG. Can I tell you? ADORABLE small town doing it right! They had a lot to offer in their little small town! They have the Savory Spice Shop. This shop had SOOOO many spices, it’s not even funny. When you go in, they ask you if you’ve ever been there.

If you tell them no, they show you how to work the shop. They have tester containers. You pour some of the spice in the palm of your hand, taste it and let the rest drop on the floor. Just wipe your hands to knock the spice off your hands and go on to the next. Unless you’re like me and went back for seconds on the Buffalo Bleu Dip! So, if you’re ever in Franklin, make sure to stop here and get your spices. You won’t regret it!  And they offer four hours of free parking. Yes, Franklin has a Starbucks :).

best business ideas for small towns

12 – Local Artisan’s Shop – These shops are perfect to help portray the creativity of the locals. I’m one of those local artisan’s :). I have some jewelry pieces in one of our local shops, Pickled Pickles. This cute shop has some amazing items from artisan’s in the area. Anything from jewelry, to clothing, to popcorn… Yes, I had to bring popcorn in it. Emma’s popcorn and the flavors are the best!

13 – Specialty Shops – These can be the local baker, a candle shop, gift shop and many other options.

14 – Microbrewery – If there is a large enough location, brewing your own beer and selling it in a small town could be ideal. Especially if people want more of a variety.

15 – Wine Cellar – Another great hot spot. People love to have their downtime and a girls night out after a hectic week. My own little town has a perfect spot called Flickerwood. Love the “Friends” vibe it has! And they only sell beverages made in Pennsylvania :).best business ideas for small towns

16 – Book Shop – Most everyone loves to read! If there’s a little lounge area, maybe a few tables and sell coffee and cookies or other pastries? Even better. And it wouldn’t be a threat to the other local shops.

17 – Movie Theater – Small town American’s, for the most part, have to drive at least half an hour to forty-five minutes to a movie theater. If your small town has a big enough building for one or two screens? Get a theater in there! Your customers will LOVE you!

best business ideas for small towns

18 – Business Incubator – Help small startup businesses get started in your town. Check out this post on Business Incubator Ideas for Small Towns over at

19 – Financial – Due to the need to have your money go somewhere, a bank or two is needed. Accountants and Financial Advisors are always good to have around too.

20 – Lawyers – Yes, even a law office or two are also beneficial in small towns.

21 – Clothing Store – By this, I’m not talking Walmart or Target. A small clothing store, whether it is high-end or fun clothing with trendy and/or vintage sayings on shirts or sweatpants has to be added to this list of best business ideas for small towns.

However, these are just 21 of the best business ideas for small towns that I’m including here. There are many more ideas that could be added, but I’d be writing all month long! If you live in a small town, what is your favorite shop? What would you like to see added to your town? Comment below or share on my Facebook page!


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  1. Karen Johnston

    What a fun article! I love the idea of the spice shop. We used to have one in North East MD, my old “small town” and I loved going in and being able to get just the amount I needed. I often throw out spices that I only needed for a recipe or two and had to buy an entire bottle. Plus, it’s neat to experiment with different spices for all sorts of things in the kitchen!

  2. Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle

    This are great ideas! If you live in a town with no pizza joint, you’ve got the perfect business just waiting for you to start up.

  3. Vera Sweeney

    I love this post! The last time we road tripped, we actually went through a small town with NO pizza place. What? I couldn’t believe no one had capitalized on that void yet.

  4. Sarah Bailey

    These are some great ideas, I think every little area needs all of these, so if you can see a niche and fancy giving it a try then most definitely go for it.

  5. Joanna @ Everyday Made Fresh

    These are great ideas! I would love to own a small little bakery one day. Something little that doesn’t have but a few seats inside, where I would have all sorts of cupcakes, bakes, pies, etc.

  6. Jennifer Van Huss

    This is a great round up of must have places for a small town! I love discovering new coffee shops when I visit new places!

  7. Sapphire Kharyzma

    These are some great ideas. You had me at Ice Cream! I think more small businesses is such an awesome approach! Thanks for sharing this!

  8. Jocelyn @ Hip Mama's Place

    Those are lovely towns to go to and visit. I’ve always liked peaceful place, it makes it easier to relax and just take things slow for once! I wouldn’t mind stopping by all these awesome shops too!

  9. Joely Smith

    YES! You did a perfect job listing ALL of the best types of shops to have in a small town or any town. I am from a small town myself and love seeing the new stores opening that is right in line with your list! Personally, I would like to do a fusion of a bakery with tea and coffee shop. A great record store would be nice as well in a small town, something or the audiophiles. Maybe a comic book store. Of course, we always have to have a good little boutique too.
    Joely Smith recently posted…10 Beauty Products Every Woman Needs – Even If You’re Not Into Beauty ProductsMy Profile

    1. Jacqui (Post author)

      My small town actually does have a comic book store and a little boutique! I’ll be sharing a picture on Instagram when I share this post there. Was actually just there yesterday and loved talking with the owner about the shop and other everyday life things. With smaller shops, you get that connection and I love it!

  10. Tomi C

    These are great business ideas not only for small towns but for larger ones as well. There’s nothing like going to a neighborhood coffee shop or having a neighborhood auto mechanic you can trust.

  11. michele d

    I would have to agree with you, town pizza places are the best! Thank you for taking us along with your small town tours. I bet you had a blast!

  12. Gingermommy

    I love learning about small towns such as this one. It is so nice to be able to go shopping or out to eat where people know who you are.

  13. Nancy at Whispered Inspirations

    Love these business ideas. Town pizza places are always a go to. Fresh ingredients and friendly faces make pizza a great experience.

  14. Jessica Terry

    This is such a fun post! I think the idea of a spice shop is a lot of fun. Small town shopping is so much better IMO.

  15. Kathy

    These are all such great business ideas. I live in a small town, and we don’t have a whole lot here. It would be nice to have some better businesses around here.

  16. Michelle Waller

    We live in a small town, and there is a small business around every corner. These are great ideas for those looking to start their own small business.

  17. Wendy Polisi

    We love checking out every pizza parlor we come across. It’s kind of our thing now when we travel.

  18. Mimi Green

    I love a store that gives me a Mom & Pop feel. I live in the DC area and they have pushed out most of our small town stores.

  19. Shannon Gurnee

    I love walking through small towns and looking at the different shops! These look like some good ones.

  20. Shannon Gurnee

    I love visiting small towns! There is something so special about the atmosphere and the personality of small towns.

  21. Paul Senn

    Cool post with some great ideas here.

  22. Flor Dimassi

    I think these are great biz ideas for a small town! Love it!


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