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Mar 22, 2011

I'll Pay You $100 For Your Idea

From Brent

We live in small town of a couple of thousand people in rural Oklahoma - about 15 minutes from Norman, OK and about 30 minutes from Oklahoma City. In the surrounding rural areas, there are probably 15,000 or so folks. Several hundred kids go to the high school in our town from surrounding areas.

The "downtown" area consists of a nice deli, a convenience store, the post office and a 3-4 other business offices. That's it. That's the "city". While it is a rural community, the "downtown street" is the one spot most people pass several times a week either going to the post office, the local school or to get gas.

In our area, there are lots of home businesses, rural business and farms, sports... a lot of people living a short distance from the cities but close enough to commute to work. We have a mixture of home town rural folks, white and blue collar professionals... our share of seasoned saints. Lots of families, lots of middle class, educated.

There are family businesses here that I give advice to and right now I'm developing a list of good ideas for someone who is considering a family business on this downtown street.

If you send me a good idea that 1) I haven't thought of already, and 2) ends up actually being used, I'll send you $100 cash. Plain and simple. You'll just have to trust me to keep my word, I always do.

What kind of family-owned, family-operated small business do you think would do well in this small, conservative, family-oriented town (with lots of folks living in the surrounding rural areas)?

I know I have a bunch of smart and experienced readers, and I don't mind paying you for your help.

Email your suggestions to me at: brent@brentriggs.com

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

3 ideas for you! First,how about a pizza restaurant...could have a few small tables for dine in but mainly does delivery and carry out. Next idea is a workout gym...we have one of these in our small town and it is very popular and also gets people in shape (something to do!). Last idea is a video rental store. Good luck on your decision! Love reading your blog. Tina H

Anonymous said...

Card/gift shop.
Wendy in NC

LaVon Baker said...

Have friends in Waco, Texas who just started a Tutoring business in a storefront. They were looking for a name for their new business and I submitted "UpGrade." They loved it and used it, so that name is taken. However, they also tutor for SAT and ACT tests. This business might do well in your rural town with lots of people living around there.

Anonymous said...

An Ice Cream Shop! I live in a fairly big town now and the only place around here is a Dairy Queen. It's o.k. but I really miss the old family owned shop where I used to live. It was the "hot spot" and everyone chose to go there over DQ :)

Phyllis said...

I just came home from my favorite "family business", a quilt shop.
Phyllis

Linda said...

I am from a very small town a little west of Lubbock Texas (home of Tech). My parents still live there and my dad has a small shop that does balloon bouquets and mums (either for football games, showers, door decorations for new births and other occasions that need speciality flowers.) They do pretty well for a small town.

Faith said...

a photography studio, or a mini-golf? :)

Gena said...

I'm sure you though of it, but food. Especially in the small areas. I lived in a very small community for several years, it was nice to have a little diner, coffee shop, fish house, BBQ... restaurant.

The second most important thing we got was a Dollar General. For a small business, I guess it would just be something similar to that. Running to 'town' for a pack a toilet paper, hygiene items or a loaf of bread isn't fun and buying it at the gas station is very expensive.

That's my best ideas.

Kim said...

I'd have to say an ice cream shop OR a bakery!

Debbie said...

Brent, how about some type of family style fun..they used to call them pool halls..more along the lines of a rec center?

Jennifer said...

A scrapbook store or a nice re-use store either for home items or kids clothing. Either of those have done great in the small towns I have lived in. Scrapbook stores are nice because it brings the community together to scrap in a back room for hours on end. Kids love doing it to so you can do parties there.

Lisa S said...

Yogurtland!!!

The Mini - Maker said...

I sent an email but I'll put my top two ideas on here as well.

1. A home-spun goods store (local people could donate/sell items or the owning family could make and sell homemade gifts, crafts, foods, giftbaskets, kits (for crafts, gifts, recipes, etc)

2. A used book store (people can bring the books that they don't want anymore and either get a store credit or cash, then other people can buy them!)

I think the best thing about small towns is the sense of community, so anything that would promote community closeness is a good thing.
~Savannah
skelb (at) hotmail (dot) com

Kelley said...

A used bookstore with couches for reading, and perhaps a small eatery included or coffee/drink shop within the store. The bookstore could have a cat in it for good measure. ;)
Kelley
wildwatergirl@hotmail.com

Janelle said...

A used book store

Michelle said...

scrapbooking store

Anonymous said...

I posted earlier about the Ice Cream shop and realized I didn't post my name. Anyways, I also like the idea of a rec center or maybe even a bowling alley with pool tables?
Shelly M.

Dina Klink said...

A small "French" cafe, adds a little flavor and fun to a small town. Could serve coffee drinks, french pasteries and light lunch items with a French twist.

Brian Reilly said...

Love the blog! Sounds like your town is in need of some startups. I would suggest a frozen yogurt bar like Phileo, perhaps a Rita's Italian Ice equivalent, a thrift store that uses profits to provide counseling or other services, gourmet hot dog spot, pizza and craft beer, a do-it-yourself photo kiosk, color-me-mine, farming co-op storefront, gift basket store.

Just a few ideas to get you started!
Brian

Susie said...

I live in Stillwater. Great place to live and raise a family but, one of the things that we struggle with is finding a place to do birthday parties. If there was a place to have parties that included a nice bakery, I would totally utilize that. The bakery is important because the only place to get a birthday cake is usually Wal-Mart, unless there is an individual you can find that does cakes in their home. Those are fine but if you are wanting something nicer, I would have to drive to Tulsa or OKC to get it. You could also use the space for baby showers, wedding showers, graduation parties, etc.

Joy said...

I was just telling my husband yesterday that someone should open a business around here where you can pay an entry fee and be able to have a picnic indoors when the weather is bad. You could also have play equipment. It could open to a lot of possibilities-indoor mini golf, food for sale, bowling...whatever depending on how involved you wanted to get and what the space of the business was.

Missi said...

I vote for a cupcake store slash coffee shop. Cupcake stores are all the rage right now & it might just draw people in from the big cities nearby. If they wanted they could serve sandwiches/soups etc also & do birthday parties too possibly.
Good luck in whatever they choose!

Jane said...

Indoor playground with inflatable jump house/slides, etc. Owners could sell pizza, hot dogs, and snack foods. It would be a great place for families to hang out. Moms and tots could have play dates during the week when big kids are in school. Book clubs, church youth groups, school clubs could all use the space for get togethers, parties, etc. High School/college kids can work there!

Teri said...

How about a Freckles Frozen Custard? It's a franchise. In my opinion, they have the best frozen custard in the Tulsa area.

Another option - a small hardware/lawn and garden center. There are enough houses and maintenance is inevitable. Having a local store would be convenient. Who wants to drive 30 minutes or more round-trip if they don't have to?

Teri said...

I don't think my comment posted. I'm sorry if it shows up later and this is a duplicate.

I have 2 suggestions:

1) Freckles Frozen Custard - It is a franchise and has the best frozen custard in the Tulsa area in my opinion.

2) A small hardware/lawn and garden center - There are enough houses and maintenance is inevitable. Having a local store would be convenient. Who wants to drive 30 minutes or more into town if you don't have to?