Growing small businesses like a garden, not exactly economic gardening

GrandBob (of GrandBob’s Garden) stopped by with this comment. It’s too smart to keep to myself. (I added a few edits, but tried not to lose any of GrandBob’s personality.) –Becky

I know of a small town locally with only 300 people. Main street is full of Businesses for sale. They have a library (where a beautiful old bank used to be). A grocery store, A lawyer. No gas station except for a Coin Operated Gas Pump among the nearby library. I wandered.

Why doesn’t some people get to-get-her and get a 2 story large brick building and lease out store spaces like a flea-market only more upscale. Share the rent, Utilities, etc. The “City” could allow the building to be Tax Free for 5 years. If it succeeds than that also becomes shared. No one is ever going to buy or rent 90% of the small Main Street Stores. Too risky as the town is now. If a Walmart can succeed near a small town rural area, why couldn’t this.

 In this one old Brick building here is some of the Possibilities for little stores:

Rock fronted bank
A brick building in a small town, full of possibilities. 
  • A Bakery, 
  • A Laundromat, 
  • A Computer Repair/Used/New business, 
  • A boutique, 
  • Hair Salon, 
  • Barber Shop, 
  • A grocery store, 
  • Candy Shop. 
  • Photographer, 
  • Seamstress, 
  • News Sheet or even a Small Newspaper by Computer etc. 
Most of these buildings are abandoned and owned by the City. The City could let it out for free rent for a few years to get it off the ground. They are not going to collect any taxes from here on out anyway. They could levy a small tax from each owner. 1% maybe and apply it to fixing up the building or advertising for it’s merchants. 
OK, Maybe it’s a Crazy Idea but why not try something different?
[It can be done. At least one small town has such a cooperative effort going on: 1440 Main Street in Ferdinand, Indiana. –Becky]

New here? Take the Guided Tour. Like what you see? Subscribe.

About Becky McCray

Becky started Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share rural business and community building stories and ideas with other small town business people. She and her husband own a retail liquor store in Alva, Oklahoma, and a small cattle ranch nearby. Becky is an international speaker on small business.

Wondering what is and is not allowed in the comments?
Or how to get a nifty photo beside your name?
Check our commenting policy.
Use your real name, not a business name.

Don't see the comment form?
Comments are automatically closed on older posts, but you can send me your comment via this contact form and I'll add it manually for you. Thanks!


  1. says

    I wonder how many small companies would “love” to have 300 customers? Unless there are other larger towns close by, this could actually be an opportunity. Not much room for competition, but 300 folks need all the services that GrandBob mentioned. And more.

    And for larger needs, I wonder if the town could team up to build community owned companies – like a small supermarket? This comes to mind, because I got the impression that this is the sort of community that may not have a local super market.

    Speaking of super markets and rural services, here is an interesting report that talks about “rural food deserts” – areas without convenient access to grocery shopping. I suspect many of your audience can relate?