I went around to local businesses while organizing for Small Business Saturday. In every store, I found something I didn’t realize that they carried. Every single store. I’m not making that up!
I knew my favorite women’s shop had kid’s clothes, too, but I didn’t know about the new line of watches or the plush stuffed animals for kids. The sewing center has adult coloring books. The Radio Shack (yes, we still have one) has barbecue spices and KitchenAid mixers. The kitchen shop has kids’ books and scientific toys. Who knew?
The T-shirt shop has added leggings and hats and gloves. The refunked furniture (painted and refurbished in a fun style) store has kitchen collectibles, the kind of old glass stuff you can still use. The shoe store has Under Armor hoodies that made my 22 year old nephew excited to shop local. The furniture and decor place has sunglasses and runners’ belts and clothes. The cosmetics place has the artistic silver jewelry her husband makes but also has soaps and candles and gifts.
My point is this: retail stores in small towns are branching out.
And it’s not just my town. As I visit other towns, I’m seeing the same trend. Rural stores are carrying a more diverse selection of merchandise. It’s long been true that rural stores tend to be more generalists than specialists because we have a smaller customer base to draw from. Now we’re seeing a subtle shift to diversifying into entirely new areas.
Have you seen this in your town? Or are you maybe doing this in your own store?
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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 have a small cattle ranch and are lifelong entrepreneurs. Becky is an international speaker on small business and rural topics.