In August of 2016 a local beauty boutique opened in Harrisonburg’s Main Street district in an unusual and fantastic location, a 1975 Airstream Land Yacht. Airstream Beauty Boutique owner Irina Dovganetskiy needed a small space that would allow her to test the market and grow her business – handmade beauty products using natural and toxic-free ingredients. She wished to belong to a community of small businesses on Main Street but, without an available downtown storefront, Irina had to dream up a new way of doing business.
Clever entrepreneurs have an opportunity to think outside the box and inside a truck, trailer, or any space with a critical mass of customers and a growing market. Recently on the Orton Family Foundation’s Cornerstones blog, rural economy expert Becky McCray shared six ways for small businesses to consider doing business in small towns:
- Pop-ups – temporary businesses that may last from just one day to several months.
- Trucks and trailers – not just for food businesses any longer, service and retail businesses are catching on.
- Business-in-a-business – sharing space with several different businesses under one roof.
- Tiny business villages – extra-small businesses in tiny buildings located together as a temporary village in an empty lot or green space.
- Rural-sourcing – an online marketplace offers business owners to live in rural communities, but reach a global market.
- Omni-local – local bricks-and-mortar shops can use e-commerce to take orders online and on-the-go mobile sites, and even monthly subscription boxes.
Could a mobile business set up shop in your downtown district without delays? What trends can your Main Street program embrace now to nurture a thriving market place?