Capitals of Small Business

Fortune Small Business offers up a list of towns and cities that are the capitals of certain industries in the United States, dominated by small businesses:

“Everyone knows which industry dominates … Detroit and Houston. But how many could name the capital of socks? Or medical imaging technology? Or firearms? These are among dozens of hidden capitals of vital U.S. industries, each populated by and dependent upon dozens of small companies that both compete and collaborate.

This idea of industry capitals, or “clusters,” as academics call them, might seem like a quaint tourist draw for small towns, an excuse, say, for Gilroy, Calif., to throw its annual garlic festival. But they serve an important function in the economy. Overlapping businesses in the same region gain a number of advantages, drawing in more suppliers and customers along with financial institutions that understand the industry. Meanwhile, the labor pool grows to include more workers with special skills and experience.”

Despite the trend toward working virtually, there are benefits from businesses of the same type or in the same industry, working in proximity. The “capitals” of small business include:

  • Virtual Reality Software — Central Florida


  • Light Aircraft — Wichita, Kansas



  • Orthopedic Surgery — Birmingham, Alabama



  • Weight-Loss Centers — Durham, North Carolina



  • Firearms — Sturgis, South Dakota



  • Cardiac Devices — Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota



  • Medical Imaging Technology — Central Massachusetts



  • Helicopters — Phoenix


I am sure there are other capitals not covered here. Do you know any? (They don’t have to be in the United States — we’d like to hear about any capital of “small business” anywhere.)

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Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder, CEO and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses.