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50 Best Strip Mall Business ideas You Can Start Today

Strip Mall Business

Do you want to start a strip mall business but you want to go niche? If YES, here are 50 best profitable strip mall business ideas and opportunities.

In recent years, strip malls are beginning to remodel and become a wonderful place to start a small business, especially one still seeking visibility. Rents in strip malls are often cheaper than they would be in heavily-trafficked shopping centres or more upscale areas.

And in a strip mall, you are most likely among a lot of other businesses that people still actually walk into. Barber shops, coffee shops, sandwich shops, grocery stores, and nail salons are common strip mall tenants. These types of businesses are among the types that aren’t being swiftly swept away by online retailing.

Even with its various advantages, there are certain challenges with starting a strip mall business. For instance, in a strip mall, it can be hard for a business to stand out.

Many strip malls have a similar look to them and a very similar tenant mix. For customers, a stop at a strip mall may be more for convenience than it is a deliberate seeking-out.

Best Strip Mall Business ideas

  1. Bookstores

It may seem counterintuitive, but bookstores are booming in the united states. According to reports, independent bookstores increased by 35% and in 2019, sales at bookstores experienced 5% year over year growth. There are a couple of reasons for this.

First is that modern consumer are more inclined to support their local businesses and many booksellers do a great job of serving their neighbourhoods.

These locations can serve as a hub in which the locals can convene and interact. Secondly, the power of experiential retail is propelling industry growth. Many independent bookstores have grown to be masters at this, and that’s one of the reasons they’re thriving.

  1. Electronics Dealer

Do not overlook this business even if it sounds a little too off the straight and narrow. For instance, the commercial drone market is predicted to grow to over $1 billion by 2024.

That’s a massive, profitable market and you have the opportunity to get in early and be a disruptor. Looking for out-of-the-box strip mall business ideas that can help you earn some extra money? This is it!

  1. Eyewear Store

Eyewear Business

Sunglasses and other types of ornamental eyewear are almost universally-loved products that do well in a kiosk or cart. These items appeal to both low- and high-income shoppers and do well in mainstream as well as upscale retail centres.

  1. Flower Shop

Flower Shop Business

It might surprise you, but opening a flower shop is a fairly inexpensive business idea and great for strip malls. According to reports, starting a flower shop has relatively few costs compared to other retail businesses.

One of the only costs you will be faced with is the purchase of a cooler to keep your product fresh and cool. Though your local community will be thrilled to have fresh flowers in their town, you will still have the struggle of competing against online delivery services.

Remember, if you are the first florist the town has ever seen (or at least for a while), they are probably used to ordering online. Habits can be hard to break.

The best way to compete with the online sea of flora is with reasonable prices, attention to detail and customers’ service, and a sprig of creativity.

  1. Candy Store

Candy Store Business

Starting a business that retails candy is very straightforward, and the biggest challenge to overcome is selecting the right location for the business.

However, a candy shop should be in a very busy area so it can take advantage of foot traffic and impulse buying, thereby making a strip mall a perfect location.

Also consider offering customers free delivery service to expand the potential market to include customers who want to send candies to relatives in the hospital, loved ones at holiday time, and business owners seeking to reward clients or employees with their favourite box of chocolates or candies.

  1. Ice Cream Shop

Opening an ice cream shop in a strip mall is a business idea guaranteed to draw a crowd. Knowing your product, being familiar with the most popular ice cream flavours, and having a willingness to work nights and weekends are all important factors to take into account. Just remember, this business comes with the challenges of seasonality.

  1. Wine Shop

Wine Store Business

Retailing wine can be extremely profitable. It can also be operated from a well-positioned strip mall or online. In the right location, walk-in customers will keep you busy.

Also be sure to establish alliances with event and wedding planners, catering companies, and business clubs and associations as they can become a great source of repeat business.

Like any retail business, you should try to offer your customers something the competition does not, which might include online orders, free delivery or a weekly wine tasting night.

  1. Home Improvement

A home improvement business might be just the strip mall business idea you’re looking for. When small towns lack a basic handyman, residents must book appointments days, if not weeks in advance to have a larger service visit their home.

As long as you are qualified, have the experience, and know your way around a tool shed, starting a handyman business is fairly straightforward and requires little overhead.

  1. Pawnbroker

Starting a pawnshop business is a good choice as a business start-up for a few reasons, such as no special business skill requirements, relatively low initial investment, and excellent profit potential.

In addition, utilizing used product pricing or value guides such as the Blue Book take away any guesswork in terms of the wholesale and retail value of products.

The key to success for operating and profiting from a pawnbroker business is to keep all transactions legal, establish the business in the right location, deal only in up-to-date merchandise that has real value, and always practice good negotiation skills.

  1. Gift Card Shop

According to reports, Americans bought on average 6.5 billion greeting cards each year, while sales are estimated between $7 and $8 billion annually. Also note that many of these cards are now purchased in big box stores, such as Target and Wal-Mart.

Those living in small towns often don’t have access to these types of stores, at least not in their immediate vicinity. Providing the people of your town with a place to not only purchase cards but gifts as well is a prime retail opportunity.

Have it in mind that the products you can carry are endless, which allows you the freedom to play around with your inventory until you find that special mix of products for your small town business. Plus, the profit margin on gift cards can be quite high, making this a potentially very lucrative business.

  1. Lighting Shop

Note that upgrading or replacing interior light fixtures has become a very popular home improvement project for many homeowners due to the fact that this type of improvement is relatively inexpensive and can have a beneficial impact on the appearance of homes.

You can comfortably start a business that sells interior and exterior lighting products in a strip mall and enjoy good success.

This sort of retail operation does not require a lot of floor space and as a method to reduce start-up costs you may even consider forming a joint venture with an established retailer in your community.

  1. Sports Bar

Though we already suggested a wine bar/coffee shop combo above, the clientele you’ll attract for that small town business idea versus this one is significantly different.

Think first dates and book clubs versus Super Bowl Sunday and Monday Night Football. Speaking of which, special events for sports games can drum up major business.

Opening a successful sports bar in a sports-centric town can be a great investment and the Business model is pretty simple, too.

But if you miscalculate the interest of your town, it can also be disastrous. So make sure you know the personality of the community going into this venture.

  1. Cosmetics Store

Beauty products have traditionally been avoided by retailers at high-end shopping centres but are finding more in-roads as merchants realize their value.

They’re great testing grounds for new products or ideas, and consumers are accustomed to kiosk merchants selling unusual or newer products. This market is almost exclusively female, and visual appeal is the key to success.

  1. Specialty Health Food/Organic Food

Healthy Food Business ideas

There is one trend that has been sweeping the country for the better part of two decades: health food. Though what is considered healthy food has shifted and changed frequently over this period of time, the general concept of eating healthier to live longer and look your best is not going anywhere.

Global sales of health food are expected to reach $1 trillion by 2024. Whether or not you consider yourself a health nut, these facts are hard number to ignore.

Research also shows that consumers are willing to spend more on healthy food. So if access to allergen-free and organic food is limited in your area, consider going the organic route.

  1. Convenience Stores

Even with the growing popularity of internet shopping combined with home delivery of grocery and convenience items, starting and operating a ‘mini convenience store’ is still a good business venture that has the potential to generate respectable profits.

The name suggests it all. To succeed in this business, the store must be convenient. This means an easily accessible and highly visible business location, well-stocked with the most popular convenience products, and fast and friendly service.

Remember, if a customer’s shopping experience at the store is not convenient then there won’t be any repeat business. In addition to the usual supply of convenience products, such as milk, eggs, bread, snack items, and soda pop, be sure to add other products and services to attract customers to the store and keep them returning as repeat business.

  1. Hair Salon/Barber Shop

Hair Salon Business

If you’re currently calculating the average number of women in your town and multiplying it by three, thinking that is the amount of business you will drum up yearly, you’re thinking too narrowly. Think colouring, nails, and makeup, just to name a few.

And remember, men tend to get their hair cut at least once a month. And, if you’re covering up that gray, every six weeks sounds about right.

Quality cuts, depending on your geographic area and the experience of the stylist can go for around $100. Just make sure you have a solid business plan before opening up your small town shop.

  1. Used Appliance Sales

You can earn a reasonable income by selling used appliances such as refrigerators, stoves, washers, and dryers, right from a strip mall location. Get started by building a resource library in terms of appliance models, manufacturers, and retail selling prices when new.

This type of resource library will prove invaluable when buying second hand appliances for resale purposes. To secure an initial inventory of used appliances to sell, begin by attending auction sales, garage and estate sales, and scanning your local classified newspaper ads for good used appliances at bargain basement prices.

  1. Car Wash

Car Wash Business

No matter where you are in the United States, one thing is for sure: people prefer shiny modes of transportation to muddy, rusty wrecks. It’s just how human nature works. You pay your car payment every month, so your vehicle might as well shine!

If there isn’t a car wash in your town already or at least one in the next town over, opening a cash wash in your town’s strip mall be your perfect small town business opportunity.

  1. Physical Office for your Online business

First you have to determine where your biggest clusters of customers are, and explore brick-and-mortar opportunities in those areas.

Several successful ecommerce-first brands have taken this approach. If you’re not keen on jumping in with both feet, considering testing your brick and mortar concept using strip malls.

  1. Gym/Exercise Studio

Fitness and Gym Business

If you think that starting a gym in a strip mall is a bad idea, think again. Just as the physical body comes in many different shapes and sizes so do gyms and exercise studios.

Though fitness businesses are great small town business opportunities, they are especially lucrative for locations where the weather is colder more months out of the year.

It’s also worth mentioning that the boutique fitness trend is red-hot at the moment and shows no signs of dying down. The appeal of massive gyms with rows and rows of weights and cardio equipment is losing popularity. Meaning, there is no better time than now to capitalize on the boutique fitness trend.

  1. Food Truck

Start a Food Truck Business

One ideal thing about opening a food truck is the start up cost: It’s far more feasible than opening a permanent restaurant. Also, reports have it that the food truck industry jumped from $803.8 million in revenue in 2014 to $1.2 billion in 2015.

Being mobile means you can serve a more geographically diverse clientele — and if one location doesn’t make you any money, you’re not stuck with it.

Food trucks also have the added benefit that they can be rented for special events. So for a small town that might lack a proper catering service, being able to hire a food truck for your son’s birthday is a perfect option.

  1. Restaurant

Every town, big or small, needs (and deserves) a few good restaurants. Your local pizza castle won’t suffice for all occasions and events. But much like owning a bakery, opening a restaurant is not something to go into half heartedly.

First, you need to have the passion, the drive, and the obsession of both a great entrepreneur and a chef (or at least a hard-core foodie).

If you have that drive and experience, however, being a restaurateur can be a successful endeavour and a great business for a strip mall.

Just be aware that as glamorous as it might seem from the outside, one-quarter of all restaurants will fail within the first year. Doing your market research prior to opening, and investing in technology such as a restaurant POS system, can help you ensure your business stays open and on top.

  1. Glass Shop

Windows, tabletops and mirrors’- there is need for glass is everywhere. That’s why a glass shop in a strip mall is a good business to start.

Starting and running this kind of specialty business requires experience in glass cutting and glass installation techniques, which is called glazing.

Providing you or your staff possess this sort of work experience and ability, then opening a glass shop can be a very profitable business to own.

There are a great many types of glass installations your business can focus on. Or you may want to specialize in one or two specific areas, such as custom glass table tops or only installing construction equipment glass, such as windshields.

  1. Thrift Shop

Start a Thrift Store

Starting and running a second-hand store or thrift shop in a strip mall is a great way to help the people of your town recycle unwanted items while giving those that might not have as much a less expensive shopping option.

One reason why opening a thrift store in a strip mall is a great idea is that much of the merchandise you will sell will be received via donations.

  1. Lingerie Shop

Heading into the new millennium, specialization is the key word for retail ‘brick and mortar’ businesses, and opening a lingerie shop fits the bill perfectly. You can start by selecting a highly visible store location for your business.

Malls and strip malls are a good choice (though you’ll want to make sure there are no “big name” competitors) and you will only require less than 1,000 square feet, so the rent should be reasonable.

Next you will want to establish accounts with lingerie manufacturers and distributors. Harness the power of the Internet to locate these companies.

  1. Vape Shop

Though this might seem like a big niche market for a small town business, the reality is that the vaping industry (and community) is currently exploding in the U.S. To give you a sense of how big the vaping market is, reports have it that Yelp has 10,591 “vape shops” currently listed in their database.

That’s a huge number, especially considering that the rate of traditional smoking continues to steadily decline. Opening a vape shop will be easier in some states than in others. So make sure to check out your state’s laws before pursuing this business idea.

  1. Nostalgia

Just like unique finds are commonly sought after, nostalgia strikes a chord with consumers that makes it hard to resist. Striking up memories from years past, these products appeal to shoppers on an emotional and personal level — leaving less room for rationalization and more opportunity for overspending.

  1. Bakery

Bakery Business

Starting and operating a bakery is hard work, if it’s your life-long dream to produce pastries for the masses, it’s a business idea that can be incredibly rewarding. Employing youth from your town is also a great way to give back and stay connected to your community.

If you’re a newbie to owning a business in a small town, doing research on opening a successful bakery is extremely important. You’ll also want to familiarize yourself with how to price baked goods.

  1. Maternity Clothing

Today, pregnant women are all about celebrating their style and looking sexy. From high-end maternity designers like Liz Lange and A Pea in the Pod to mid-priced maternity wear newcomers The Gap and Old Navy, clothing designers are on to the potential of this growing market.

With more than 4 million babies born annually, it’s easy to see why the maternity clothing market is buzzing. Assuming the average expectant mother purchases only five new maternity garments while pregnant adds up to a whopping 20 million maternity garments sold each year in the Unites States alone.

  1. Grocery Store/Specialty Food Shop

Grocery Store Business

Although this is an obvious choice for a strip mall, but sometimes the obvious answers are the most overlooked. Indeed a Grocery Store might not sound like the sexiest business choice; it is one of the best business ideas to start in a mall. Like many other strip mall business ideas, there are many directions you can take this business in.

Perhaps your town already has a local grocery store; in that case, opening a specialty food shop might be the right call. Remember, when serving a small community, options are limited, which can open up an opportunity for you to serve residents in more ways than one.

  1. Design and Sell Home Goods

According to reports, building materials and garden equipment and supply stores had some of the biggest growth from 2016 to 2017, with overall sales rising nearly 11%. And for furniture & home furnishings, total brick-and-mortar and ecommerce sales rose 2.2%.

First consider your unique perspective on this vertical. How can you stand out among other local retailers who sell the same fare?

  1. Lawn and Gardening Products and Service


Once you begin finding customers, as long as you have quality services that are reasonably priced, you’re likely to keep the same customers for years.

You’ll also be able to predict the repeat services  your customers will need. Not only does grass need to be cut repeatedly, but lawns need to be fertilized and treated for weeds and bugs.

A landscaping business is also an ideal strip mall business idea that will scale well. You can start off by offering a few services such as lawn and shrubbery care, but can later expand to offering snow removal services as well.

  1. Children’s products

According to reports, parents spend more on their children due to decrease in school budgets, making child-oriented stores some of the fastest-growing in the industry. The average parent spends $6,500 on toys alone over the course of a child’s life.

Plus, growing populations means more babies: Pew Research found that Millennial beat out Baby Boomers as the largest living generation in 2015. Be it toys, clothing or something in between, catering to the youngest consumer base is a real retail opportunity.

  1. Coffee Shop and Bar

Coffee Shop Business

When you think of your neighbourhood coffee shop and bar, you might not think of the same establishment. But if your town is small enough and clientele scarce, merging these two business ideas in a strip mall might be just what the town needs.

The concept behind being a coffee shop that serves alcohol is that in the post-noon hours, coffee consumption begins to taper off significantly.

If you’re looking to stay open later and need the cash, filling an additional need in your small community is the perfect business idea. Now you not only have a place for business meetings and freelancers, but also happy hours and first dates.

  1. Evening Gown Rentals

Note that many designer evening gowns cost $1,000 or more, placing them far outside the financial reach of many customers.

This creates an ample opportunity for the determined entrepreneur to start an evening gown rental business, which can be easily conducted from a strip mall.

Marketing the business can be as simple as creating a full-colour catalogue that features pictures and descriptions of the evening gowns for rent and distributing the catalogues throughout the community where they’ll generate the most interest.

Once established, an evening gown rental business should receive a vast amount of referrals from satisfied customers, not to mention a lot of repeat business.

  1. Pet Grooming and Boarding

Pet Businesses are a $60 billion industry in the United States, so it just plain sensible that a strip mall has at least one pet grooming or boarding facility or a combination of the two in order to tap into the potential.

The pet industry is also one that shows no signs of slowing down. In 1988, 56 percent of households in the United States owned a pet, in 2016 that percentage jumped to 65. This means that there are almost 80 million households in the U.S. with at least one pet.

Since most strip malls don’t have a pet specialty chain such as a Petco, businesses can also capitalize on the lack of a major pet store where owners would usually purchase food, toys, and clothing for their pets. If you plan your business well, you can become the one-stop shop for all things furry. And that translates to big profits.

  1. Mattress Shop

Specialization in the retail industry increases the likelihood of success and profitability. Starting and running a retail mattress store is an excellent example of specialization in the retail furniture sales industry.

Mattresses and bedding products have a lifespan of about four to eight years. This is one of the reasons why starting a retail business selling mattresses and bedding products is such a wise choice. In addition, consider adding institutional sales to the business, meaning hotels, hospitals and nursing homes.

The addition of institutional sales as a sideline for this type of retail business can add a significant amount of revenue to the overall yearly sales of the business and, more important, beef up the bottom-line profits.

  1. Clothing Boutique

One of the primary amenities that strip malls shouldn’t lack is a clothes shop, and we don’t just mean a large shopping mall.

Often, those living in smaller towns and communities have to drive significant mileage just for basic clothing necessities.

That’s why starting a clothing boutique will not only put you on the map but will make you a popular destination for most residents in the vicinity.

You’ll pretty much be the mall substitute for all things teen-related. Just make sure to stay up-to-date on the latest trends.

  1. Bowling Alley

Bowling Alley Business

Note that this is not the cheapest of business idea on this list, but it can be extremely profitable as well as appeal to the widest range of patrons in a small town. A successful bowling alley can become the centre of a town’s social life.

Besides the obvious bowling revenue stream, food and drink (especially alcoholic beverages), can also help you pull in the big bucks.

Small town bowling alleys can also be rented out for additional income. Like all businesses, large and small, having a quality business plan for your bowling alley is incredibly important.

  1. Nail Salon

Nail Salon Business

Starting a nail salon business is not just a financially rewarding business, but it is also fun since making people’s nails can create enough vibe and communication.

People enjoy going to nail salons because they want to look great. The nail industry is perfect to venture into now with the unstoppable ruse of social media and website, and more people are showing themselves off.

  1. Fruits Mart

Fruit Vegetable Store in an Open Market

Opening a fruit mart is yet another strip mall business that an entrepreneur should consider starting. Beyond every reasonable doubt, there is a large market for fruits. Just like stable foods, fruits consumers cut across people of various age groups.

So if you are looking for a retailing business to start, a business that requires low startup capital, then you should look towards opening your own fruit mart in your neighbourhood.

If you are looking towards opening your own fruit mart, then you must ensure you put facilities in place that will help you preserve your fruits. Fruits are highly perishable hence it must be well preserved if you are not able to sell them within a very short period of time. Retailing of fruits is indeed a profitable business.

  1. Open a Retail Pharmacy Store

Retail Pharmacy Business

Another ideal strip mail business where products (drugs and medical supplies) from different manufacturers are retailed is a retail pharmacy store.

If you are a licensed pharmacy and you looking towards starting your own business as against working for someone, then you should consider opening a retail pharmacy store.

This type of business is highly profitable. Pharmacy retailing business if one the few retailing businesses that are highly regulated.

Before you can start this type of business, you will be required to secure permits from the regulatory bodies in your country or city.

  1. Open a Boutique

Boutique is also a typical strip mall business and any entrepreneur in any part of the world can successfully open a boutique without much stress.

All that is required to lunch this type of business is a store that is well positioned and money to stock your boutique with different types, colours, shapes and designs of clothes and fashion accessories from different clothing labels/designers.

The truth is that if your boutique is well located and stocked with quality clothes and fashion accessories, you are likely not going to struggle to attract customers.

  1. Open a Mobile Phone Shop

Mobile phones and accessories store is yet another cool strip mall business an entrepreneur can consider starting. It might not be cheap starting this type of business, but of a truth it is a highly thriving business. There is a large market for mobile phones and its accessories.

Just like any other retailing business, choosing a good location for this type of business and ensuring that you have phones from different brands are some of the ideas you need to adopt if you want to make good income from the business.

  1. Cigar Lounge

A cigar lounge is a place where smokers can freely smoke cigarettes without the fear of harassment from security personnel. In cigar lounges, smokers can easily find assorted cigarettes from different brands. Cigar lounge is perhaps one of the few places where cigarettes are freely retailed.

So if you are a cigar lover or you are interested in making money legally from the business, then you should consider opening a cigar lounge in your community.

Please note that you will be required to secure the necessary state permits before you can be allowed to official open and operate a cigar lounge in the United States of America.

  1. Frozen Food Mart

Frozen Seafood Shop Business

Frozen food mart is another typical strip mall business and it is indeed a profitable business venture. Frozen foods such as fish, chicken, turkey et al are generally consumed worldwide. So if you are looking for a strip mall business to start; a business that is not capital intensive and simple to manage, then you need to consider setting up a frozen food mart.

  1. Open a Meat Mart

Meat Shop Business

Another strip mall business that an entrepreneur can successfully start is a meat mart. Aside from vegetarians and a couple of people, meat is generally consumed in all the parts of the world hence it is a viable and profitable business to start.

Just like most retailing businesses, the location you choose to start this type of business will go a long way to determine the success of the business.

  1. Open a Gift Shop

If you don’t want to stress yourself but you want to make money from a business, then one of the businesses that you should consider starting is a gift shop. A gift shop is a place where items good enough to be presented as gifts are retailed.

If you are looking towards starting this type of business, it will be to your advantage to ensure that your store is stocked with a wide range of products from different manufacturers including handmade products (crafts).

  1. Open a Retail Store for Light and Electrical Fittings

There is a large market for lightings and electric fittings, and it is a business that is easy to set up and manage. The truth is that people will always have need to replace their electrical bulbs and other lightings because they have a short life span.

So if you are looking towards starting a strip mall business, then you should consider opening a shop where lightings and electrical fittings are sold. It is a profitable business especially if the business is well positioned.

  1. Start a Gourmet Business

Gourmet business is another typical strip mall business. If you are looking for a simple but highly thriving small business to start, then you need to consider starting a gourmet retailing business.

It is indeed a profitable business and if you want to make the best out of this type of business, then position your gourmet outlet around a cinema, football viewing center, sports center and outdoors event centers.