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Owning a business is a rewarding way to earn a living and connect with the people in your community.

Small towns thrive on small businesses. A business is simply an opportunity to meet a need, and small towns have needs too.

Here are some great ideas for a lucrative business in a small town.

1. Family Photographer

Families live in small towns. And small-town people often value high-quality photography including more traditional products like large prints and albums.

Becoming a family portrait photographer can help you capture images of generations of family members.

2. Senior Portrait Photographer

Parents love to get portraits of their high school seniors.

When they are transitioning from childhood to adulthood, this may be the last time mom and dad get great portraits of their child.

The nice thing is that even small towns have high schools, and a new group of seniors graduate every year.

Think about offering packages that combine both digital and print options.

3. Home Repair Services

A home repair handman or handywoman in a small town can be a lifesaver.

Whether you offer plumbing, electrical, or just general repairs, this can be a lucrative business especially if you can offer on-call hours for emergencies.

4. Automotive Repair Services

Have you ever gotten stranded at home and the nearest automotive repair shop was in the next town?

You can try getting an affordable tow and getting to where you need to go but it’s still a pain.

A car repair shop in a small town meets a critical need not only of the residents but of people traveling through.

5. Restaurant or Food Truck

blue and pink food truck
Photo by Prithpal Bhatia on Pexels.com

People love to eat. Well, people need to eat, but sometimes it’s nice to let someone else cook for you.

Opening a local restaurant or even a food truck in a small town is an excellent way to meet a need and earn a living.

6. Café/Store Combo

People love their coffee and cafes. While small towns have a different vibe than cities and suburbs, a café with a little store of some sort is a great business idea.

Not only can you help people get their java fix for the day, but you can also sell gifts, local souvenirs, and more.

I once saw this small town with an art gallery/café and it was a fun little shop that was also a very popular tourist attraction.

7. Laundromat

Have you ever had your washer and dryer stop working?

Let’s just say that if you did, you would be really thankful for a laundromat nearby.

Additionally, in some rural areas, the need for a laundromat is higher because not everyone can do laundry in their own homes.

8. Small Farm

Local farms help people stay connected to their food. Growing vegetables, raising animals, selling chicken eggs and more help you meet critical needs in your community.

In most areas, you can then sell your goods at a farmer’s market or at the end of your driveway. 

9. Farmer’s/ Flea Market Owner

sunflowers on rack with price tag near orange canopy tent
Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

Okay, there are the vendors that sell their goods at a farmer’s or flea market and then there are the people who rent out the space to the vendors.

A really lucrative idea is to be the business that rents the space to the other businesses.

10. Grocery Store

While running to the next town over might be fine for buying your weekly groceries, when you just need to get a gallon of milk or a loaf of bread, a local grocery store can be a lifesaver.

Plus if you’re the only grocery store for miles, you’re guaranteed at least a little business as long as you don’t price gouge your customers.

11. Clothing/Thrift Store

photo of woman near clothes
Photo by Burst on Pexels.com

Buying clothes is a critical need.

If you want to sell clothes, a good deal of market research will help you discover the best kinds of things to carry in your store.

An area with a lot of farms might need quality work clothes as an example.

12. Convenience Store

A store that sells everything from food to clothes, to random household needs is another lucrative business idea for a small town.

You get to meet multiple needs simultaneously. Here’s a tip: Always carry toilet paper.

13. Rental Properties

It’s hard to find rentals in rural areas.

If you own more than one property you can rent out, it can help people who need to stay nearby, but can’t buy their own home for some reason.

14. Motel/Hotel/Bed and Breakfast

Temporary accommodations can be used for almost anything.

Whether someone if visiting a relative or just passing through, a Motel, Hotel or Bed and Breakfast is an excellent business idea for a small town.

You’ll always have someone passing through.

Depending on where you live, you may also be able to create a niche B&B that appeals to newlyweds and couples who want a little getaway.

15. Dog Boarding

People love their pets.

When they are gone for an extended amount of time, dog boarding facilities are the perfect choice to care for their pet.

If you’re an animal lover, this could be a great way for you to get your fix and run a lucrative business as well. 

16. Home Daycare

People living in small towns need to work too.

By opening your home for daycare services, you meet a critical need. As you grow, you could easily expand your services into a facility.

This has the additional benefit of allowing you to provide more jobs in your community.

17. Home Health Services

joyful adult daughter greeting happy surprised senior mother in garden
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Many people stay in their homes as they age. But older adults sometimes need a little more help.

By opening a Home Health Services business, you help care for the everyday needs of these older adults.


It’s possible to be successful in business no matter where you live.

These are just some of the many lucrative business ideas for a small town.

The fact is that almost any business can be a success as long as you do the right amount of market research and create a business that meets the needs of your target market.