What Are the Best Businesses for Small Towns?


9 min read

What Are the Best Businesses for Small Towns?

Table of Contents

What Are the Best Businesses for Small Towns?

To identify the essential businesses that every small town should have, we reached out to CEOs, founders, and other industry professionals for their expert opinions. From gas stations to a shoe repair shop, discover the top 20 businesses these experts believe are crucial for small town success.

  • Gas Stations
  • Community Center
  • Variety of Tiny Coffee Shops
  • Hardware Store
  • Small-Scale Bookstore
  • Eco-Friendly General Store
  • Beauty and Boutique Spa
  • Upscale Dining Option
  • Pet Grooming Business
  • Essential Local Grocery Store
  • Boutique Gift Store
  • Solar Energy
  • Local Automotive Repair Shop
  • Farmer’s Market
  • Upscale Bar
  • Specialist Senior Care Services
  • Bakery
  • Fitness Center
  • Pharmacy
  • Shoe Repair Shop

Gas Stations

Gas stations are essential not only for the convenience of their customers but also as a lifeline for those in rural areas who may not have access to other services. They can provide essential supplies, such as fuel and food, as well as providing employment opportunities in the local area.

Scott OrnScott Orn
Chief Operating Officer, Kruze Consulting

Community Center

I believe that the best business that every small town should have is a community center. A community center can act as a hub for the town and provide a wide range of services that can benefit the entire community.

A community center can provide a safe and welcoming space for people of all ages to gather, socialize, and participate in various activities and events. This can include everything from youth sports leagues and after-school programs to adult fitness classes and cultural events.

In addition, a community center can serve as a resource for local small businesses and entrepreneurs. By providing meeting rooms, training workshops, and networking events, a community center can help foster entrepreneurship and economic growth in the town.

Matthew RamirezMatthew Ramirez
CEO, Rephrase

Variety of Tiny Coffee Shops

Every small town should have a variety of tiny coffee shops that make quality coffee and provide a space for people to convene. In fact, every small town should have multiple coffee shops for people to choose from and enjoy.

You can’t beat a good cup of coffee, and a variety of options in every town is best. Everywhere I visit, I look for the best local coffee shop to enjoy, and it’s always the best part of my day!

Patrick CaramalacPatrick Caramalac
Founder and CEO, Best Fit Movers

Hardware Store

A hardware store is like a small town’s heart, beating with its community’s pulse. It’s where you find everything you need, from trusty hammers that will help you fix that squeaky floorboard to sturdy nails that hold memories together. Need to tighten a loose screw or unclog a stubborn drain? The hardware store is your go-to guru, armed with various gadgets and gizmos.

It’s a hub of knowledge and expertise where you can seek advice on which power tool will make your DIY dreams come true or find the perfect shade of paint to give your walls a fresh personality. The hardware store is more than just a place to buy supplies; it’s a sanctuary of possibilities to transform your house into a home, one project at a time.

Lev BerlinLev Berlin
CEO, Recipal

Small-Scale Bookstore

A small-scale bookstore is the best business that every small town should have. It promotes literacy, offers a cozy reading environment, and fosters a love for books within the community. A bookstore provides access to a wide range of literature, including educational materials, fiction, non-fiction, and children’s books. It can organize book clubs, author events, and storytelling sessions, creating a vibrant cultural hub.

By offering a place for people to browse, discover, and connect over books, a small-scale bookstore enriches the town’s intellectual and social fabric while supporting local authors and publishers.

Ben LauBen Lau
Founder, Featured SEO Company

Eco-Friendly General Store

With a rising emphasis on sustainability, I believe an environmentally friendly general store may be a significant asset to a small town. Organic foods, zero-waste staples, reusable household items, and locally created sustainable goods should be available.

Provide instructional tools on eco-friendly activities and hold workshops on issues such as composting, recycling, and plastic waste reduction. Engage the community actively by organizing environmental cleanup efforts and promoting local sustainability projects.

Tim AllenTimothy AllenTimothy Allen
Sr. Corporate Investigator
 Corporate Investigation Consulting

Beauty and Boutique Spa

A beauty and boutique spa is a great business idea for small towns, especially since most residents may not have access to the kind of luxury treatments found in bigger cities. This type of business can offer services such as manicures, pedicures, facials, waxing, massage therapy, and hair styling.

You can also provide retail items such as makeup, skincare products, and clothing. A spa is relatively inexpensive to set up, and the demand for these services is always high. Plus, spas provide a comforting and relaxing atmosphere that helps build customer loyalty.

Effie Asafu-AdjayeEffie Asafu-Adjaye
Founder, Beautiful Sparks

Upscale Dining Option

If there is one thing that I tend to see do well in most small towns, it is a restaurant that is slightly more upscale than the local diners and mom-and-pop shops. These will be the ones that people tend to go to for special occasions like birthdays, after church, or to celebrate other important milestones.

Typically, these should be fairly broad and leaning towards Italian cuisine to suit all tastes and occasions rather than something more specialized.

Dragos BadeaDragos Badea
CEO, Yarooms

Pet Grooming Business

In my personal opinion, pet grooming businesses can be truly valuable assets to any small town. People in small towns often have pets, and they consider them as part of their families.

They need a trustworthy place for their pet’s care, and a pet grooming business can fulfill this need while adding a unique charm to the local business landscape. It’s more than a business; it’s a service that deepens relationships among residents.

Alexandru ContesAlexandru Contes
Co-founder, ReviewGrower

Essential Local Grocery Store

Every small town should have a grocery store that can provide fresh and affordable food to the locals. Having a grocery store in the area makes it possible for people to buy what they need for meals, snacks, and other items without having to travel far away. Additionally, having a local business helps support the economy in the area and provides job opportunities.

Ryan HetrickRyan Hetrick
CEO, Epiphany Wellness

Boutique Gift Store

It would be a good idea‌ to open a boutique gift store that showcases the inventiveness of regional makers.

Curate a collection of one-of-a-kind and handmade items such as jewelry, pottery, textiles, and artwork. Encourage relationships with local artists and designers in order to produce unique goods. Organize workshops and craft fairs to encourage community involvement and to showcase local talent. Consider having an internet presence to reach customers outside of your community.

Andrew PriobrazhenskyiAndrew Priobrazhenskyi
CEO and Director, Discount Reactor

Solar Energy

I believe solar energy is a viable choice for small towns trying to minimize their carbon footprint and save money on electricity prices.

Install solar panels on residential and business sites. Offer a complete solution that includes design, implementation, and maintenance. Collaborate with local electricians and contractors to ensure that existing electrical systems are seamlessly integrated. Educate the community on the long-term advantages of solar energy, such as increased energy independence and lower utility bills.

Cindi KellerCindi Keller
Communications Coordinator, The Criminal Defense Firm

Local Automotive Repair Shop

A local automotive repair business could fill the need for an affordable yet trustworthy option for auto maintenance and repairs. It is easy to start up and has tremendous growth potential.

You need a good understanding of cars, but you can also hire technicians who know their way around automobiles. It’s also an ideal business for small towns since most people don’t want to travel far for repairs, so your shop could easily become the go-to option in town.

Nick RivadeneiraNick Rivadeneira
Founder, Racebuilds

Farmer’s Market

One business that can greatly benefit and add value to almost any small town is a farmer’s market, as it provides numerous advantages to both residents and local businesses.

A farmer’s market offers local farmers, artisans, and producers a platform to sell their goods directly to the community, fostering a strong connection between consumers and local suppliers. This supports the local economy and promotes sustainability and the consumption of fresh, locally sourced products.

It also serves as a community gathering place, creating a vibrant and lively atmosphere, and it becomes a focal point for residents to socialize, explore diverse offerings, and experience the region’s unique flavors.

In addition to the economic benefits, a farmer’s market includes having a distinct identity and sense of unity, support for local entrepreneurs, increased tourism, job opportunities, and access to fresh and healthy produce.

Shane McEvoyShane McEvoy
MD, Flycast Media

Upscale Bar

It always seems to me that small towns have a bar and then the “nicer” bar, where people go for a bit more of a treat.

It should be a bit more upscale, maybe even straying into the realm of being hipster, to give people a choice and the ability to differentiate themselves from the people going to the other bar. Sounds silly, but I’ve seen this over and over in small towns, so I think there’s something to it.

Kate KandeferKate Kandefer
CEO, SEOwind

Specialist Senior Care Services

I believe there is a demand for specialist senior care services because small towns frequently have an aging population. Create a business that provides in-home care, support with daily activities, companionship, and transportation to seniors.

Ensure that your personnel is well-trained in geriatric care and that personalized care plans are created for each client’s specific needs. Collaborate with local healthcare providers, senior centers, and retirement complexes to build a strong community network.

Tiffany HaflerTiffany HaflerTiffany Hafler
Marketing Coordinator
 Blockchain Lawyer


A small town’s bakery is the place to go for when you’re looking to have a tiny splurge, something to just make your day that little bit better while still being healthy.

There are few things better than a loaf of fresh bread or a fancy pastry to go with your dinner. Every small town I’ve been to with a bakery has had it be something of a town landmark, so in my opinion, every small town should have one right next to a coffee shop.

Onno HalsemaOnno Halsema
CEO, Contentoo

Fitness Center

In my opinion, every small town could benefit greatly from a well-equipped fitness center. Here’s why.

Fitness centers provide a communal space for individuals to focus on their health and wellness. As a personal trainer, I’ve seen how access to a local gym can significantly improve quality of life. It’s not just about physical health but also about fostering community spirit.

I recall setting up a boot camp in a small town that lacked a proper gym. The excitement and enthusiasm from the locals were infectious. They were eager to engage in a healthier lifestyle and appreciated having a space to do so.

So, a fitness center, in my view, is an essential addition to every small town. It’s about creating healthier communities while also providing a platform for social interaction.

Evander NelsonEvander Nelson
NASM-certified Personal Trainer, evandernelson


A pharmacy is a great business for every small town because it provides essential medications and health care products to the local population. It is also an affordable option for people who don’t have access to more sophisticated healthcare services.

Pharmacies are often staffed with pharmacists who can offer valuable advice and assistance in managing a wide range of healthcare needs.

Darryl StevensDarryl Stevens
CEO, Digitech Web Design

Shoe Repair Shop

Shoe repair shops offer specialized services that are in demand regardless of the town’s size. Additionally, people in small towns often have limited access to shoe replacement options and may prefer to repair their shoes rather than buy new ones.

What’s also worth noting, shoe repair shops have the potential for additional services. They can expand their offer beyond repairs and, for example, sell shoe care products or leather goods. Moreover, in an era of increasing environmental awareness, shoe repair shops contribute to sustainable practices by reducing waste. I’ve recently repaired four pairs, which was a great move as I saved money, acted eco-friendly, and got ready to greet summer in my lovely sandals.

Shoe repair shops will never become obsolete. Even rapid technological development has no power to change it. Every small town should have such a business.

Agata SzczepanekAgata Szczepanek
Community Manager, MyPerfectResume

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