Looking for the best business ideas for small towns?

Stay with us until the end to know the top 31 business ideas you can implement in small towns.

However, starting a business is not easy. It requires a lot of time and effort, from brainstorming business ideas to registering your business, hiring people, and offering services.

But every business starts with an idea.

To help ambitious entrepreneurs, we’ve put together a list of the best small business ideas to start in a small town. Whether you already live in a small town or are planning to move to one, these small town business ideas can help you start your entrepreneurial journey there.

However, before you check out the small town business ideas, let’s take a look at what all small business owners need to get started.

Things You Need to Start Your Business in a Small Town

Whether you choose to open a cafe or run a digital marketing agency, there are a few steps that every business owner needs to follow.

To turn your business idea into reality, you will need:

Things You Need to Start Your Business in a Small Town

For LLCs and Corporations, you will have to register your small town business with the Secretary of State.

  • An EIN/Tax ID: Regardless of the entity type you choose, you need to file for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) with the IRS to acquire your nine-digit tax ID. This number is used for hiring employees, filing business taxes, and opening a business bank account.

While applying for it manually can be tedious, you can easily fill out our EIN application to apply online.

  • Business licenses and permits: Small business owners need to check with the state and local authorities to find out which business licenses and permits they may need. It differs based on your state, county, city, and nature of business.
  • A business bank account: You should open a business bank account to separate your small town business finances from your personal finances.
  • Bookkeeping service: As a business owner, you should set up a bookkeeping process to track and manage your business finances. You can either do it yourself, hire an accountant, or use a bookkeeping service.

Business Ideas for 2024: Best Business to Start in a Small Town

Here are some of the best small town business ideas that you can use to start a business in 2024:

1. Local Grocery Stores

People living in rural areas and small towns have basic demands and needs. You should identify and leverage a business opportunity that fulfills your basic needs.

However, when a small town sustains without having a local grocery store, it means that most of its residents commute every day and buy groceries from stores in other cities nearby. This void creates a great opportunity for grocery store business ideas.

Local Grocery Stores

If there isn’t a large population living in your small town, the town can’t support too many grocery stores. So before opting for one, do a feasibility study to understand if there’s enough unmet demand for groceries. Also, research on how the existing grocery stores are performing.

Let’s suppose your business idea is to open an independent grocery store (not a franchise). In that case, you should try to specialize your grocery store so that you don’t have to spend a heavy amount on inventory and infrastructure. A great way is to promote local products through your store.

A great idea here is to choose a spot for your grocery store in an area with no other nearby stores. Executing this idea well could give you a monopoly there.

For example, find an area in your small town where people have to cover long distances to get food and open a grocery store there. It is one of the best small town business ideas to serve the local community and make money.

2. Food Trucks and Stalls

Do you love street food? If so, you’re not alone. Many people relish the special local delicacies offered by food trucks and stalls.

If you’re an expert at cooking a specific dish, you can easily start a food truck in your small town. Or, you can join the local farmers market to set up a booth to sell your food product. You could also partner with existing food retailers to sell your product at the point of sale.

Isn’t this a great business idea for small towns?

Many people prefer food trucks over stalls because they don’t want to restrict themselves to a single location. Food trucks offer them the opportunity to travel to nearby areas or cities with their food business.

Food Trucks and Stalls

Food trucks aren’t just a mobile approach to the street food business. They’re also famous for parties, small town events, graduation events, etc. You could come up with unique ideas to promote your business with the food truck.

Also, if you’ve some unique street food to sell, there’s no stopping your business. You’re mobile, unique, and enjoy low infrastructure costs; food business ideas for small towns can’t be better than this.

Before you start…

You need to check what the legal requirements for food businesses are in your area and make sure your kitchen and process are up to the laws and regulations. You most likely will need to acquire a commercial kitchen space to prepare and sell food.

3. Hair Salon or Beauty Salon

Everyone needs a haircut from time to time, which makes a hair salon one of the best businesses to start in a small town. Depending on the size of your town, you can open a hair salon in an area where there are no hair salons.

The chances are that your town already has a few salons. In this case, you should focus on the underserved customer demographic. For example, if your town has beauty salons for women, you can open a barbershop that caters mainly to men.

Along with offering haircuts, you can also offer other services to your customers such as waxing, manicures, facials, massages, and other spa services.

Even if your small town has full-service hair salons, you can implement this business idea by considering more niche hair care businesses such as blow-out bars or beauty salons for eyelashes or makeup.

The idea here is to go as niche as possible when there’s stiff competition in your small town.

4. Coffee Shop

Opening a coffee shop is one of the best business ideas for small towns. Many people love coffee and a local coffee shop is all they need to spend their leisurely evenings.

Along with a variety of coffee, you can offer snacks, ice creams, and local delicacies to make sure customers have a good time at your cafe.

The coffee serving business is an all-day business and is a great idea, even for small towns. If coffee shops aren’t a “thing” in your small town, you can open one at a spot where people go to bars. This can slowly normalize the activity in that locality and can be a great opportunity for crossover business.

Coffee Shop

Talking about bars, a small town bar can be your dream business, but a coffee shop can be a great business idea too. Unlike bars, you can start in the morning and go past the entire day.

With a coffee shop, you have a great chance of making money 24/7.

The best part about this idea is that you’ll only need a small space for your coffee shop, basic equipment, talented staff, and creativity to plan the decor of your coffee shop. You can also create a book corner or have board games to entice customers.

5. Cleaning Business

Cleaning is one of the most time-consuming and boring household chores. That’s why many people happily hand over house and office cleaning jobs to maids and professional cleaning service providers.

Cleaning services are a great business idea if your small town has such households.

You will need little investment to start your cleaning business, register it, hire maids and cleaning staff, and buy cleaning supplies and equipment. You can start earning quickly as cleaning services are in great demand in small towns and cities.

This is a business where word-of-mouth marketing shines bright. Therefore, if you offer good services, you are likely to get referral customers, who can help grow your business quickly.

After your start, you can expand this business idea by widening your service line to include babysitting, yard work, home repair services, etc.

Expert cleaning services are a great business idea that won’t require you to spend heavily on infrastructure too. Neither will you require any certifications or courses to get started.

If you know a few households that might require cleaning and maintenance services, don’t think twice about implementing this business idea in your small town.

6. Landscaping and Lawn Care Business

The landscaping industry in the United States is predicted to grow at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 4.6% from 2020 to 2025. This makes landscaping one of the best business ideas to start in a small town or city.

Just like cleaning, many people either don’t want or can’t find time to take care of their lawn or garden, and therefore are ready to pay for its maintenance.

The landscaping and lawn care business fulfills the unique needs of small towns. These businesses can be paired with other household chores businesses for expansion.

However, the business idea of gardening and landscaping can be seasonal for many areas in the USA. Hence, you should look for other business ideas to earn from your resources during the offseason.

To get started, you will need basic training for land mowing, edging, trimming, irrigation, and weed treatment. Then, you can register your lawn care business and start offering services to lawn owners.

As a lawn care provider, you can charge $30/hour to $120/hour on average. Some businesses also charge up to $220/hour for mowing large lawn areas with a sloping landscape.

7. Auto Repair Shop

Automobiles have become an essential part of today’s lifestyle. They are no longer limited to big cities. Even people living in small towns and rural areas ride bicycles, motorbikes, and cars to commute within the locality.

Now, while everyone drives a car in rural areas or small towns, not everyone has access to a nearby service center. This is where auto repair shops are a great idea and can fill in the gap and make life more livable for small towners.

Setting up an auto repair shop could be a great small business idea for you. Along with offering repair services and extra parts, you can also offer bicycle, motorbike, and car wash services to your customers.

Auto Repair Shop

Not only this, if the cities are far away from your small town, there is an excellent business opportunity for towing cars. Cars break down everywhere, so it’s a great idea to have your business located near the highway in your small town.

Once you start, it’s a great idea to list your business on every business directory, and if possible, put out some banners on the highway so that the car owners know where to reach.

8. Restaurants

Based on your small town, you can choose to open a diner, fine dining, or a mid-tier restaurant. Anyways, restaurants are a great business idea for small towns.

However, no matter how much it entices you to copy a popular restaurant’s theme in your town, always come up with your own theme idea.

The restaurant business idea is about food and ambiance. So you need to have some unique dishes and a great ambiance that people can enjoy. While creating your restaurant’s interior, always keep your target customers in mind.

For example, don’t go too funky if your target customers are business owners.

Try to stand out from the rest of the restaurants in the town. A great restaurant business idea is to open a farm-to-table restaurant where you offer food made of agricultural produce sourced from nearby farms.

The key to the success of a restaurant business lies in catering to what people want from a restaurant.

9. Liquor Store

Depending on the state you’re opening your liquor store in, you need to obtain several permits and licenses. The rest is quite similar to opening a grocery store.

Opening a liquor store is an awesome business idea for small towns, especially in areas where grocery stores aren’t allowed to sell alcoholic beverages.

Before opening a liquor store, make sure you have all the necessary paperwork. Following is an outline of how you can execute this idea:

Liquor Store

  1. Identify the right location for your liquor store
  2. Form a legal business entity
  3. Set up business accounting and banking
  4. Obtain licenses and permits for selling liquor
  5. Purchase insurance for your liquor store
  6. Select a brand name for your liquor store
  7. Build a website for your liquor store
  8. Create a marketing strategy

10. Handyman Contractor

Be it a city or a small town, a skilled handyman will always be in demand. If you’re someone who’s a standalone handyman in your neighborhood, it’s a great idea to start your business as a handyman by offering your services to the town.

For this business idea, all you have to do is to create a legal entity and hire several handymen based on the anticipated customer demand.

As you serve a few customers well, word-of-mouth will spread, and you’ll realize exponential growth in the customers’ demand for your services.

Eventually, becoming a handyman contractor is a lucrative business idea for small towns.

Moving forward, keep in mind that there’s no room for you to compromise with your service. Don’t forget that word-of-mouth can move in a negative direction too.

11. Computer Services

In this tech-savvy world, businesses, as well as individuals, require technology infrastructure. Where there is infrastructure, there’s also a need for support.

And that’s why a computer services business idea is awesome because irrespective of the size of your town, there will always be a need for computer repairs and connectivity.

You can open your computer support services even if your town has a few similar businesses.

Just keep in mind that if you want people to try your services out, you need to keep your prices competitive and offer better services. The idea is to break into the market and gain some share.

Since the computer services business is less visible than businesses with a storefront, you might need to invest more in marketing.

12. Pet Store and Care

Be it a small or big town, people in America love pets. In fact, nearly 70% of US households own a pet. This creates a huge business opportunity for people who understand the pet market and can provide care services.

Opening a pet store is a lucrative business idea for small towns if there isn’t a large pet shop or chain there already.

Where there are pets, there will be a need for grooming and boarding services. So, in addition to offering pets for sale, you should also include the subsidiary services in your business model.

And if yours is the first pet shop in your small town, you’ll have to create awareness among the residents about the benefits of availing your services.

Ask them where they get their existing pet food supply and their schedule for grooming and mating. You can plan your business services accordingly.

13. Gas Station

Although gas stations aren’t the most glamorous businesses, they never run out of demand. The reason is where there is a highway, there are commercial as well as personal vehicles, and they run on gas (at least most of them).

This makes it a profitable business idea.

Even if you fear the obsolescence of gas-powered vehicles, you can install electric charging stations in your gas station to never run out of business.

Advantages of Gas Station

If your small town is near major highways and there aren’t enough gas or charging stations in it or towns nearby, don’t think twice about this business idea.

The most crucial success factor for a gas station is the location. So pick a location where vehicles are more likely to stop. Maybe open a gas station near a highway restaurant or an auto repair shop.

In addition to charging facilities and gas, you can open a convenience store at the same location. This idea can prove to be a great asset as customers can get a lot done by coming to your gas station.

14. Pharmacy

Doing business in the healthcare ecosystem is amongst the most secure small town business ideas.

However, to open a pharmacy, you’ll have to hire a licensed pharmacist and support staff, install security precautions, buy insurance, and perform other licensing tasks. But if your town doesn’t have an ample number of pharmacies, opening one is a lucrative idea.

Pharmacy is the best small town business idea for individuals who are trained pharmacists. It’s a 24/7 business that will never run out of demand.

However, if you’ve decided to open your own business, beware of large drug store chains. They’re hard to beat on prices and variety.

15. Fitness Studio or Gym

Gyms and fitness studios are essential in any town, irrespective of the size.

If your small town doesn’t have ample fitness studios or gyms to accommodate the population, there is a business opportunity for you.

This business idea can easily get you more customers if you can provide quality services and equipment at a competitive rate.

Amongst all the business ideas for small towns, this one requires significant capital investment at the beginning. Gym and fitness studio equipment is expensive, and in addition to this, you’ll also require to hire gym trainers. This adds to the cost.

However, once set up, this business idea generates a lot of revenue, and customer retention can be quite high once.

16. Antique or Thrift Store

This small town business idea isn’t for every town. Only the touristy areas have room for quaint stores. Your antique stores can make profits via finds from estate sales, local flea markets, and junkyards.

To be honest, the turnover for the antique store is generally slow. But the best part is that your inventory doesn’t expire or require much upkeep.

If your town already has several quaint gift shops or thrift stores, you’ll have to specialize in a segment. For example, you can open an antique store for artwork from local artisans or a thrift store for second-hand clothing.

17. Ice Cream Shop

Previously, we’ve discussed that food-related businesses like food trucks can be an incredible business idea for small towns. But if you’re not a chef, it’s hard to run a restaurant or food truck unless you employ someone for food preparation.

Ice Cream Shop

However, a great business idea similar to food trucks is an ice cream truck or shop. If you don’t want to get involved in running a full-fledged restaurant, an ice cream shop or truck can be a great idea.

Ice cream shops are hot spots for small town residents, especially in the warm weather. Hence, if your town has long summers, ice cream shops are your way to go. You can also pair your ice cream shop with candies and cakes.

To make things even better, a good idea would be to launch an ice cream truck that you can drive to different areas of town.

18. Tutoring Business

Irrespective of your town size, you’ll have children who might require additional help outside of school hours. If you’re someone with a good educational background and have an interest in educating children, tutoring is a successful business idea for you.

You can start with any level of school kids. One thing you need to keep in mind is the subject or areas of education you want to tap into. If you have a few friends with you in this business, you can include several subjects.

But make sure you start small to understand the feasibility of this business in your small town. You can even start online classes to reach a wider audience and make money online.

However, do make sure you check for any legal requirements that might be there to start the business. Also, it’s a good idea to see if there are any educational institutions in the town already.

19. Bookstore

A bookstore is a great idea for a small business in a town. Although with big online sellers like Amazon and Walmart, opening a bookstore business idea might seem obsolete, there’s still a huge opportunity.

You just need to corner a specific niche of readers who require books frequently. However, if you only sell books, it’s hard to see huge revenues with this small town business idea.

Your bookstore should do much more than sell books. You can hold reading events and book fairs. You can even offer books on rent to earn recurring revenue from your existing inventory.

To ensure your bookstore’s success, partner with local schools and colleges to provide institutional supply.

Yet another attractive idea here would be to open a cafe alongside the bookstore. This way, you can get dual revenues.

20. Dry Cleaner

Dry cleaning isn’t a choice for customers; it’s a necessity. Apparels like suits, jackets, sweaters, and dresses need to be dry cleaned regularly, and that’s why every town needs dry cleaners.

If your town has a lot of business class people who commute to the city for work, dry cleaning services is a great small town business idea.

Dry Cleaner

Even if you don’t know how to dry clean, you can employ semi-skilled resources to do that for you. You just need to maintain a healthy relationship with your customers by offering exceptional services.

In addition to approaching individuals, you can also provide dry cleaning services to other small town businesses and corporations in your town. This will get you a steady stream of revenue for your small town business.

Similar to other business ideas discussed in this article, dry cleaning services tend to generate significant revenue via word-of-mouth marketing.

21. Floral Shop

From Valentine’s Day to weddings, flowers are the go-to gift for any event or holiday. If your small town doesn’t have an ample supply of flowers and the residents have to buy flowers and bouquets from the nearest city, a floral shop is an amazing business idea.

Flowers are a versatile commodity that can not only be used for gifts but other purposes like proms, local functions, and even for visits to a sick person in the hospital.

The best place to open a floral shop are areas where there is a lot of foot traffic. Moreover, the floral business won’t require expensive machinery or a huge infrastructure.

You need to contact a nearby flower supplier to get started with this business idea. Also, do visit a few floral shops in nearby cities to understand how they improve the shelf life of flowers as that can be tricky.

Once you know how to operate, press the launch button on this small town business idea.

22. Bed and Breakfast

Regardless of your town size, if you’re located near a high-traffic highway or a city, there’s a huge opportunity to cater to the picnic needs of visitors. This is especially true if your town has some scenic spots that can attract tourists.

Bed and breakfast is a great business idea for small towns where you can make money by providing homely hospitality to visitors. You don’t even need a huge motel-like space to offer bed and breakfast services. In fact, all you need is an additional room in your home.

A bed and breakfast facility can cater to a variety of customers and can operate with small operational and setting-up expenditures.

To make the business idea even more lucrative, you can combine the bed and breakfast with other activities like boating, trekking, and farm activities.

23. Professional Photography

There is and will always be a business opportunity for photographers. It’s true that with the advent of mobile photography, there has been a slight reduction in the need for freelance photography services.

Professional Photography

But professional photography is still very much in demand. The reason is professional photography isn’t just about the camera; it’s about the thought behind the photography.

Additionally, people require professional photoshoots for all sorts of events like weddings and birthdays and that’s where you could tap into this business idea.

So, if your town doesn’t have a lot of photo studios, you’ve got a great business idea at hand if you’ve got good photography skills.

Additionally, many corporations seek professional photography services to capture office pics.

If you’re implementing this awesome small town business idea, make sure that you build your portfolio and show it on your website and your store.

24. Nail Salon and Spa

The barbershop business idea is great in the personal care segment. However, if your small town already has a few barbershops and you don’t see much opportunity in this segment, consider opening a nail salon and spa.

Nail salons and spas are fool-proof small town business ideas that will surely be successful if your area has ample demand.

Compared to most of the other small town business ideas discussed in this article, nail salons and spas require skilled labor and supplies which increase the capital requirements.

However, if you see a significant opportunity in your area, you can hit break-even very quickly.

25. Daycare

This business idea is quite similar to tutoring. However, it’s more targeted toward toddlers. You’re the perfect person to start a daycare business if you have a teaching or childcare background.

Parents, especially the working ones, always need extra help to care for their children. Daycare businesses are the right choice for them when they have kids of preschool age.

If your town has a significant kids population and comparatively lower daycare options, go for this business idea without thinking twice.

You can even set up a facility where parents can drop their kids off while leaving for work and pick them up on their way home. Moreover, you can extend your line of services by employing several childcare specialists and providing childcare services at home.

26. Clothing Boutique

Even with the prevalence of e-commerce, people often prefer shopping in person. If clothing stores are nearby, people find it convenient to buy from them.

If your town doesn’t have clothing boutiques, it’s a great business idea to implement. The key success factor for an offline clothing boutique is to differentiate itself from other online retailers.

Clothing Boutique

When it comes to a product-based business idea, there are four pillars you need to focus on — product, price, place, and promotion. Just try to beat the online retailers in one of the factors, and you’ll win. So, set up your retail business entity and you’re all set to go.

One idea is to promote local production of apparel. You can take help from local designers. Here, promotion and positioning play a significant role. Additionally, you can open your boutique in the main market area of the town to get greater footfall.

27. Winery or Brewery

First thing first, this business idea for small towns requires significant investment in terms of licensing, technology, and expertise. Despite the investment, a winery or brewery business idea comes with a high possibility of success.

These businesses act as town gathering spots where locals come for drinks and simple get-togethers and events. Breweries are famous among small towners during the warm weather, whereas wineries can act as a romantic date or picnic spot.

28. Catering Business

Although catering is a more niche market, it can prove to be a better investment than a restaurant, especially if you don’t have the budget to start the restaurant in an upmarket area.

Catering is a great business idea for those who have experience in the food industry but want more than what a restaurant business can offer.

After all, you won’t be restricted to a particular location in this case. You can go to various events to cater and could launch your cloud kitchen too.

Word-of-mouth publicity and business branding is the most crucial thing when it comes to catering businesses in small towns. If you’re able to build a good reputation through it, this idea can bring in a lot many repeat customers.

29. Hardware Store

Although there are online stores like eBay on which people can buy hardware supplies, these platforms aren’t always handy.

And that’s why a hardware store is a great business idea for your small town. These specialized stores come in handy for people who are completing their home upkeep or projects and immediately need supplies.

With the proposition of availability of products, it’s worth considering the hardware store business idea.

The hardware store, however, is a fabulous business idea for individuals who have an inclination for building or fixing things; otherwise, it’s hard to understand the business and products. The product lines for hardware stores are so complex that it takes quite some time to learn the inventory.

Hence, if you’re among those who have the understanding of hardware store inventory and supplies required for the local renovation and construction, go for the hardware store.

30. Event Venue and Planner

Be it a small town or a big one, where there are people, there will be events. The first thing you need to keep in mind while going with this business idea for small towns is to confirm whether there are other similar businesses in your area.

Event Venue and Planner

If there are a few event venues and planners in your area, you need to find out whether they’re able to fulfill the residents’ demands or are up to the sniff in terms of standard.

The idea here is to find out if there’s a market for your services in the town.

An event venue can fulfill all kinds of celebratory needs of your residents and even encourage people to take advantage of your service. Sometimes, demand follows supply, and this principle works flawlessly with the event venue business idea.

Coupled with event planning, your venue can shine bright by becoming the favorite place for events like weddings, engagements, and other private events.

31. Bakery

If you’re a foodie, you’ve probably thought of opening a restaurant or a bakery. Bakeries are a great business idea for small towns. It’s a place where people go for cookies, cakes, croissant slices, and all sorts of bread.

If you have the required talent for a bakery, you can open one in your area or even at home right away. However, before you start, you need to analyze a few things.

First, see that there isn’t any bakery nearby, else the market would be saturated. If there is one, plan your differentiation strategy. Figure out what you can provide that no other baker can.

Lastly, decide which business model you’d want to move forward with. You can sell things in-store and can also offer a delivery service. While creating your business model, think about the differentiation strategy to foolproof your business idea.


1. What are good business ideas to start in a small town?

The best businesses ideas to start in a small town include:

  • Grocery store
  • Food business
  • Hair salon
  • Coffee shop
  • Clothing boutique
  • Pet store
  • Auto repair shop

2. What are the most successful small town business ideas?

Here are some of the most successful small town business ideas:

  • Grocery store
  • Food business
  • Hair salon
  • Coffee shop

3. What is the best business to start in a village or small city?

The best businesses ideas to start in a village or small city include:

  • Grocery store
  • Food business
  • Hair salon
  • Clothing store

4. What are the most successful small businesses of 2020?

The most successful small businesses of 2024 include:

  • Food delivery businesses
  • Digital marketing agency
  • Gaming apps
  • Online hobby classes
  • Online tutoring services
  • Personal wellness businesses

5. What is the easiest business idea to start?

The easiest business ideas to start often include online businesses and service-based businesses because they require minimal investment and greater profit-making opportunities.

Some of these include:

  • Online tutoring business
  • Virtual bookkeeping business
  • Digital marketing agency
  • Freelance business in writing, graphic design, accounting, etc.

If you have a place to set up your business and money to invest, you can also consider starting brick-and-mortar businesses such as:

  • Grocery store
  • Food truck
  • Coffee shop
  • Auto repair shop
  • Pet store

Ready to Start a Business in a Small Town?

There are numerous options when it comes to the best small town business ideas, from setting up a coffee shop to a grocery store, food truck, restaurant, or pet shop.

You can also start service-based businesses in your small town such as a digital marketing agency, accounting service, tutoring service, or cleaning business.

When choosing the best business ideas to start in your small town, you should conduct market research, understand what your customers need, analyze competitors, and create a strong business plan.

You should make the most out of every business opportunity to satisfy your customers and grow your small town business efficiently.

Do you need help starting a small town business? Let us help you register your new business and help you get started the right way.