Small towns are so different, there is no one business will work in every small town. But there’s one business idea that almost every single small town I’ve visited needs: small spaces.
Every rural town could use smaller spaces for locals to start tiny retail businesses. Not everyone can afford to rent an entire downtown storefront, remodel it, bring it up to code, then start their retail business. But almost anyone could afford to fill a few hundred square feet, or even a few square feet.
The Village in Washington, Iowa, is a business that is a divided space. An old department store was divided up into little pretend storefronts inside, each only a few hundred square feet. Then in the interior courtyard, push carts offer a few dozen square feet for even smaller retail businesses. Even little tables are available, only a few square feet. It’s been a successful idea for 10 years now. As of 2018, they have six retailers sharing the space.
A local highschooler making her own hair accessories can easily manage to create enough product to fill only one table. A winery located out in the rural part of the county can use a tiny store front as a branch office. Anyone can get started and use the experience to learn and grow.
If you’re looking for one business idea that works in small towns, look at creating tiny spaces for other people to create their own businesses.
More ideas for growing your own entrepreneurs
Discover more about this “works anywhere” retail store idea:
- Small town retail trend: shared spaces
- One downtown building gives life to many new retail stores
- A community of small businesses in one shared building
- About the Author
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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.