10 Small Businesses That Every Small Town Needs

    Authored By


    Reviewed By

    Brett Farmiloe

    10 Small Businesses That Every Small Town Needs

    What small business does every small town need?

    To help you figure out what kind of business your small town needs, we asked entrepreneurs and business leaders this question for their best advice. From bakeries to event rentals, there are several different ideas that may help you to start the next booming small business in your hometown.

    Here are ten tips for those looking to start their own small business:

    • Doctors & Dentists
    • Bakery
    • Hair Salon
    • Bookstore
    • A Locally-Owned Restaurant Joint
    • Wellness Center
    • Coffee Shop
    • A Tool Library
    • Gym
    • Event Rentals

    Doctors & Dentists

    As someone who offers SEO for dentists and doctors, I’m never ceased to be amazed by the geography of the leads we receive. My day is mostly filled with back to back to back 15-minute Zoom calls with people seeking SEO services. Each conversation starts off with something like, “So, Dr. Green, how are things in Waunakee?” or “Hello Dr. White, thanks for reaching out to us from Towson.” The thing I’ve learned through these calls is that every town needs a dentist. Big towns like Seattle, where dentists are the only occupation making more money than software developers - they need dentists just like every small town across America needs that expertise too.

    Brett Farmiloe
    Brett FarmiloeCEO, Featured


    There are two types of products: there are commodities, and then there are luxuries. Sugary baked goods are hardly necessities—you don’t need them to survive. Still, what would life be if you don’t get to indulge in the sweet things in life? Having such a store also stimulates the local economy, as towners have more room to spread out their disposable income to maintain their welfare. The alternative would be to save up, invest, and not spend that money anywhere, at all.

    Hung Nguyen
    Hung NguyenContent Marketing Manager, Smallpdf

    Hair Salon

    If Covid taught us nothing else, it was how badly we need a convenient way to get our hair cut. So obviously in my small town, there must be a hair salon. Let’s face facts and the fact is we cannot cut our own hair or have family members try and accomplish the same! Hair salons are an important staple for all communities as every town needs a place where locals can get their hair cut or nails done, while also sometimes serving as an important social hub. I know of people that have received job information, access to other important services, and the like just from a trip to the local hair salon.

    Ronald Kubitz
    Ronald KubitzDirector HR & Recruiting, Forms+Surfaces


    A perfect small town would have a bookstore that also operates as an event destination. Some of my most cherished experiences have involved meeting authors at book signings at book stores. By running a bookstore as a combination of retail and event space, it would be a great way to connect with people who share my passion for reading and learning.

    Bruce Harpham
    Bruce HarphamMarketing Consultant, SaaS Marketing Services

    A Locally-Owned Restaurant Joint

    As someone who grew up in a small town of 13,000, I know how important it is to have a place that promotes community, creates jobs... and feeds people! There’s something special about having a place to go in your own town that also helps sustain it financially and that everyone can afford. A good breakfast and a great burger go a long way.

    Lisha Dunlap
    Lisha DunlapPR Marketing Manager, Chandler Gilbert Community College

    Wellness Center

    This could encompass a place to go for a yoga class or to meet with a therapist or business mentor. It could include seminars and talks on mental health, nutrition and fitness - all while ensuring that everyone learns to appreciate who they are, and love the skin they're in.

    Angela Hope
    Angela HopePR Specialist, Livin3

    Coffee Shop

    A homey and warm meeting place is always important! Not everyone wants to meet at a chain restaurant when they can just grab a hot coffee/pasty and sit in a cozy chair and use free wifi or have a business get together or a one-on-one with a friend!

    Annika Ehrig
    Annika Ehrig

    A Tool Library

    These operations typically stock equipment like power drills, vacuum cleaners and blenders. The idea is that paying members can check out a tool for a few days or weeks, which is helpful for one-off projects. A business like this is important in small towns because it helps reduce waste, increasing efficiency and also builds community. The tool library can support not just residents, but also other businesses. Access to this library may help reduce operating costs and maintenance so that businesses can focus on their specialty instead.

    Michael Alexis
    Michael AlexisCEO, teambuilding.com


    A few come to mind: a local bar, a package store, a landscaper, a modern convenience or corner store. However, the most important to me would have to be a gym — I am willing to drive to go to the store and can always drink a beer at my house, but having a place to workout that is close by is huge and I am not sure I’d consider living anywhere that didn’t have one.

    Quincy Smith
    Quincy SmithFounder, ESL Authority

    Event Rentals

    Part of being human is celebrating and throwing a party. It has been around since the B.C era. By now, I think everyone is noticing how much they miss big group gatherings. It’s in our nature to get together and have a good time! In order to throw a good party, you need chairs for people to sit, plates, cups, and flatware for people to eat and drink, and tables for all of those things to come together. And I think most hosts and guests would welcome a dance floor and stylish linens. No one has those in bulk just lying around their homes, but asking everyone to bring a set to the party is obnoxious. It is so much easier to ask them to bring a dish to share than the whole dining room (which is why catering was not my answer).

    Karen Gordon
    Karen Gordon VP of Growth, Goodshuffle Pro