50 Businesses Every Small Town Needs

What Business Does Every Small Town Need?

Small towns may not be known as huge business hubs. But every town, even those without a huge population, need some small businesses.

What Business Does Every Small Town Need?

If you live in a small town or are thinking about relocating and want to contribute to the business landscape there, here are some businesses that every small town should have.

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Grocery Store

Everyone needs to buy groceries. And small towns aren’t usually attractive targets for huge chains, making them perfect for independent grocers.

Convenience Store

Small town shoppers also need a convenient place to buy drinks, snacks and other items that might not require a full grocery shopping trip.

Gas Station

Help local drivers fill up their tanks and get some extra business from those who are just passing through by opening a small town gas station.


Independent pharmacies fill prescriptions from local patients. And they can also offer a small selection of products for sale.

Hardware Store

Local hardware stores offer all the products local residents need to fix things around their home. And they’re also known for providing personalized service and helpful expertise.

Garden Center

Garden centers usually carry a wide array of plants and landscaping supplies for local homeowners.

Coffee Shop

Every community needs at least one small coffee shop where people can pick up a morning brew and/or gather with others.


Diners are usually fairly casual restaurants. Many specialize in breakfast and comfort food options.

Fast Food Restaurant

People also need fast food or fast casual restaurant options where they can quickly grab a bite while they’re on the go.

Fine Dining Restaurant

To serve customers who want a nicer night out, every community needs at least one steakhouse or fine dining restaurant that provides table service and an upscale menu.

Specialty Restaurant

Most communities should also have a couple of restaurants that specialize in a specific type of cuisine, just to give people a bit of variety.

Pizza Parlor

Pizza is a staple in any community. This type of business might offer food for delivery, carryout or dine-in.

Carryout Restaurant

There are also opportunities for other types of quick carryout and delivery options like burgers or wings.

Sports Bar

A local sports bar provides local fans with a place to enjoy a nice meal and watch various sporting events on TV.

Wine or Cocktail Bar

Many communities could also use other types of bars that provide a different vibe and a different array of drinks.

Ice Cream Shop

An ice cream shop is essential for any town, especially during the summer months. But there may be enough business to stay open all year.


A local bakery should provide things like cakes, cookies, and pastries. You might even offer coffee and sandwiches for breakfast.


To keep local residents entertained, you could open a small movie theater or even a live theater venue.

Health Food Store

Health food stores operate basically like grocery shops. But they only offer organic or healthy options, along with some specialty items that may be difficult to find in traditional grocery stores.

Beauty Salon

Beauty salons can offer hair cutting and styling services, along with manicures, pedicures, facials, massages and makeup.

Auto Repair Shop

Every town needs an auto repair shop that provides basic maintenance and emergency repairs.

Car Wash

Car washes can also do very well in small towns, especially if there’s a major thoroughfare nearby.

Pet Grooming Service

Plenty of people in small towns have pets. So they need a place to keep them professionally groomed.

Pet Supply Shop

You could also open up a retail store that carries pet food, toys and various other supplies for pet owners.

Handyman Service

A handyman business can help local homeowners with a variety of services, from hanging pictures to tearing down wallpaper.

Plumbing Service

Plumbers are needed in basically any location. In a small town, you might work with both residential and commercial properties or just expand your service area a bit.

Electrical Service

If you’re trained as an electrician, you can use a similar concept to run a successful small town business.

HVAC Service

HVAC service providers usually offer a wide array of services aimed at helping property owners maintain their heating and cooling equipment.

Landscaping Service

If you enjoy spending time outdoors, you can help local homeowners and businesses with their lawn care, gardening and landscaping.

Cleaning Service

You can also work with both homeowners and businesses to provide interior cleaning services on a recurring basis.


People all over the country need ways to stay healthy. Open up a small gym to give people convenient access to the space and equipment they need.

Yoga Studio

You could also offer a more specialized fitness facility, like a studio that offers classes in yoga, pilates, kickboxing or barre.

Dry Cleaner

Dry cleaners provide essential garment cleaning services, which are necessary for people in all locations.

Clothing Store

Retail businesses can thrive in a variety of locations. Consider opening a store that provides clothing for a wide array of shoppers.

Toy Store

If there are a lot of kids in your small town, you might even open up an old fashioned toy store that plays into the traditional small town feel.

Gift Shop

A gift shop can thrive in nearly any location. But it can be even more successful in small towns with active tourist seasons.


Bookstores are also popular in a variety of locations. If there’s not a ton of retail spending in your small town, consider opting for a used bookstore.

Thrift Shop

Thrift stores are essential for customers who want to save money on their everyday purchases.


Flower shops appeal to customers celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, weddings and even those attending funerals.


Parents in small towns need access to quality child care. If you have experience working with kids, consider opening a daycare center.

Real Estate Agency

A real estate agency helps homeowners, businesses and potential buyers with their property transactions.

Tech Repair Service

Gadgets like smartphones and computers are common throughout small towns. So people often need repair services for cracked screens, viruses or other issues.

Funeral Home

Families always need caring and quality funeral home services to honor loved ones who have passed.

Event Venue

Even if your town doesn’t have a ton of huge events, you still need a venue that can host small gatherings like anniversary and graduation parties.

Bed and Breakfast

Plenty of travelers love small town charm. So most small towns could benefit from at least one bed and breakfast where tourists can stay.

Travel Agency

A travel agency can help individual travelers and large groups plan their trips and get the best possible deals.

Financial Planning Service

A financial planning service helps local residents plan for retirement and get all of their financial accounts in order.

Insurance Company

A local insurance company can help residents and businesses with everything from auto insurance to life insurance.

Photography Studio

Photographers can help their local community by opening a studio to take family portraits, senior pictures or even images of pets.

Health Clinic

A health clinic is essential for keeping people healthy with regular checkups and providing urgent care appointments for people in need of fast service.

Image: Depositphotos.com 12 Comments ▼

Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles, interviews, feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. When she’s not writing she can be found exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.

12 Reactions
  1. Businesses are there for more than just money. It fills the need of the market. It makes life easier.

    • It also helps to look into the unique needs of your town to see if there are needs you can fulfill.

  2. This list seems ok. However, a small town without a downtown, will need to start from scratch. It will need entrepreneurs and working a plan with the town government. I saw a small town today that literally had a gas station, library, and high school only. That was it. The downtown was broke down. There was a prison near by. Saw many police officers (I assume work at the prison) Lots of old broke down houses. It was depressing. There were brand new houses in this same town about 10 miles away. Not anywhere near the broke down downtown area. I see potential. How would one go about creating an environment to help the local community, rebuild, and prosper ?

  3. let's say it's Lila Greenwood.

    On my modest opinion, not very helpful. This is for a school project and i need to think of buildings.

  4. a couple or three family doctors, a small hospital. Also a veterinary.


  6. i will eat your family

  7. Shelly Beaulieu

    something for young people to do. there is no movie theater here, no bowling alley, no arcade, book store. NOTHING TO DO BUT SIT AT HOME!!!!

  8. That was truly inspiring. I was a bit worried about this world wondering if the young people were up to the task ( it’s a lot) but after reading that poignant, thoughtful exchange…. I think we can all rest easy, I know I am.
    Keep up the good work

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