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7 Ideas for Small Town Businesses That Thrive and Change Communities


Nearly a third of all businesses fail within the first two years of opening. The stakes are even higher when you start a business in a small town. There is less room for failure because a bad reputation spreads like wildfire.

Where there’s a higher chance for failure, there are greater rewards for a small business. Being able to establish yourself as an outstanding member of the community is very rewarding. Your business is the answer to all the dissatisfaction of large corporate machines.

Small town businesses that thrive take on a whole new life. They become a community landmark, a hub, and a huge contribution to the local economy. All you need is a vision and a plan. 

If you’re unsure what type of business works for small-town communities, we have some ideas for you. All of these types of businesses are experience growth across the country. What type of business are you passionate about?

Personal Development Coaching

Many people who live in a small town, especially the youth, want to achieve bigger things. They don’t want to be stuck in a small town forever, but they don’t know how to break out of it. Many are looking for advice on starting their own businesses, too.

That’s where you come in, giving life and career advice as a startup business idea. You can provide them with information on growing on online business in e-commerce, taking their stores global, and making smart investments.

In fact, financial planning and advising services are extremely successful small town business ideas. There’s a lot more about this topic than putting money in the stock market or a 401k savings plan. The best part about the personal development space is that it’s easy to understand and doesn’t require having access to big city resources.


People are looking for something better than Starbucks. Not that you can’t get a decent cup of coffee at the major chains. Small towns thrive on community engagement, which Starbucks provide nothing of the sort.

You can build a simple cafe business, selling mediocre coffee, but with a strong community. Invest in the atmosphere, make people feel at home, host local acts, and you’ll easily turn a profit. The best thing about cafe businesses is that you can serve coffees nearly all day

Trade Skill Businesses

Competing as the local handyman may not seem like a lucrative business idea, but it is. Small town contractors often lack professionalism and competition to offer a higher standard of work. If you’re able to establish yourself as a trustworthy, accessible, and fair, you’ll go a long way as a contractor.

A trade skill business lives and dies by word-of-mouth advertising in a small town. A good startup business idea starts with growing a network of friends and family referrals. Once you start to develop a reputation for your work, you’ll need to spend less on advertising and more on expansion.

Mechanic Shop

The same concept applies here as it does with trade skill businesses. The automotive business is a little more strategic, however. If you can position yourself as an alternative to remote dealership locations, you’ll win big. 

Small town mechanics are often the only realistic option for residents needing car repairs. Most people aren’t going to want to pay a hefty towing fee to get their car to a major dealership. Your auto repair business can do housecalls as well as collaboration with towing businesses.

There’s always money to be made in the car repair industry. 

Electronics and Computers

Small towns are often underserved when it comes to technology infrastructure. This is a ripe opportunity to establish your own business for computer and technical support. There’s always going to exist a large demand for IT and computer repair.

You can leverage your business as a cheaper alternative to having to buy new devices and computers. Plus, most small town people prefer to keep using their older devices. It’s a different demographic than big cities surrounded by technology.

Specialty Groceries

Eating healthy is not a fad or a niche community anymore. People all over the country are looking for ways to eat smarter and healthier. Big box stores have everything you need, but not much of a variety when it comes to organic or specialty foods.

Local grocery stores offer the ability to find better organic foods, diet-specific foods for allergies and vegans, along with more raw ingredients overall. Farm-to-table eating is exploding in popularity. Small town populations want to know where their food comes from, and you can establish that missing link of trust.

From a pure business standpoint, specialty foods offer wider margins. 

Vape Shop

Vaping is a smart business idea whether you’re in a small town or not. The vaping industry is expected to grow to $47.11 billion by 2025. If you decided to open up a shop in a small town, you could establish yourself before large franchises start to take over.

Make sure you do your research on the local county and state laws to see what is permitted. Obviously, it’s a lot easier to operate in states that have legalized the sale of cannabis products. Cannabis products make up a large chunk of vaping users, but you can still succeed without selling them.

Small Town Businesses that Thrive

Establishing yourself in a small town community and making it better is a very satisfying journey. Authentic, people-power movements produce small town businesses that thrive. Don’t expect to awe people with fancy advertising or tossing in a few “yee-haws” on your signage.

If you approach this business opportunity with the right intentions, you’re going to succeed. Provided that you do your homework on the local economy and your competition, you can become the market-driver for that area. Local goods and services are synonymous with quality, creativity, and sustainability.

Get out there and find your niche, so that you can enjoy both financially and emotionally-fulfilling work that makes America great.

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Celebrate Ridgewood’s Diversity – June 1st, 2019

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, Ridgewood’s flag will be flown on a new flagpole at Van Neste Square Memorial Park. The ceremony begins at 10 a.m.

President Donald Trum celebrated diversity by becoming the first Republican president to acknowledge the LGBT celebration of Pride Month on Friday.

Trump said in a tweet:

“As we celebrate LGBT Pride Month and recognize the outstanding contributions LGBT people have made to our great Nation, let us also stand in solidarity with the many LGBT people who live in dozens of countries worldwide that punish, imprison, or even execute individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation,”

and went further :

“My Administration has launched a global campaign to decriminalize homosexuality and invite all nations to join us in this effort!”

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The Birth of Ridgewood


the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood Nj, Co-sponsored with the Ridgewood Historical Society
In celebration of Ridgewood’s 125th anniversary, local historians Peggy Norris and Joe Suplicki provide a slide lecture on the critical years between 1865 and 1876. Using documents, maps, and historic panoramic photos, Norris and Suplicki illustrate Ridgewood’s transformation from farm to suburb. All welcome, no registration required. Light refreshments will be served.

April 29th, 7 PM – 8:30 PM

Ridgewood Public Library
125 N Maple Ave, Ridgewood, New Jersey 07450

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Rooney Writes Prescription for NJ Commuters’ ‘Congestion’ Symptoms

Lincoln Tunnel

the staff of the Ridgewoiod blog

Ridgewood NJ, New York City will begin charging drivers for entering lower Manhattan next year. Assemblyman Kevin J. Rooney has drafted legislation to mitigate the impact of so-called congestion pricing on New Jersey commuters who travel to the city every day. Rooney’s bill creates a commission to study the feasibility of reimbursing state residents and businesses impacted by the plan and make recommendations to the Legislature. Rooney will introduce the measure when the Assembly reconvenes on May 16.

Continue reading Rooney Writes Prescription for NJ Commuters’ ‘Congestion’ Symptoms
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Will Ridgewood Follow Greenwich With a Collapse of Property Values

for sale Ridgewood_Real_Estate_theRodgewopodblog

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, according to Garden State Initiative , once the symbol of an affluent America , Greenwich, Connecticut is enduring a collapse of its real estate market as high-earners flee the high-tax state. This was typically preceded by these homeowners establishing residences in Florida or other more fiscally attractive states. This  sounds all to familiar, New Jersey? The storm that is currently hitting Connecticut’s real estate market is starting to impact New Jersey. As high end real estate values deflate, as is occurring in Greenwich, the taxes to support local governments and schools will be redistributed to moderate and lower value property owners.

Continue reading Will Ridgewood Follow Greenwich With a Collapse of Property Values
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Michael Shetler,

July 23, 2015 By Michael Shetler

The New Jersey MLS (NJMLS) has released its market report for June, 2015. The number of homes under contract in June was up 20% over the same month last year.

Download: June Housing Market Update for Northern New Jersey (pdf)

That’s a startling number considering last year’s spring market was very healthy.

Year to date, Essex County experienced the biggest increase in sales activity across northern New Jersey, with an 18.3% increase in residential properties under contract. In Bergen County, residential sales increased by 11.3%.

Despite the increased activity, median sales prices have been fairly flat. YTD, the median sold price for residential sales in 2015 is up only 0.3% in Bergen County.  Across all areas in northern New Jersey, the increase was 1.6%. Those numbers may increase in July as the large number of June contracts begin to close.

The number of new listings increased in June by 10.9%. While that may initially be cause for concern, the absorption rate has actually decreased during the same period. The absorption rate is a measure of the inventory of homes on the market – the number of months supply of homes currently listed for sale. The absorption rate for residential properties decreased by 4.3% in June over the same period last year. For condos and townhouses, a subset of this group, the absorption rate increased by 1.4%. Still, the rate for condos/townhouses is nearly the same as that of residential properties overall.

Download: June Housing Market Update for Northern New Jersey (pdf)

Absorption rates for residential categories are in the range of 6.8 to 7.0 months, which is a healthy number. In the more desirable parts of northern New Jersey, the rates are much lower.
For housing data within a specific village, borough or city, please call Michael Shetler at 201-421-0506 cell or 201-445-4300 x231 office.

About Michael Shetler

Michael Shetler is a real estate marketing professional and Bergen County Market Master. He has a particular expertise in internet marketing and real estate video. Michael is a full-time Realtor® residing in Glen Rock, NJ and recipient of the NJAR® Circle of Excellence Sales Award in 2009 , 2011, 2013 and 2014.