That’s right, the city’s business districts could use some local talent, especially with some home-grown cottage industries.
Cottage industries are locally owned businesses that are started and operated by private citizens who possess talents to create goods and services to be purchased by local residents and visitors to the community.
Cottage industries are popping up all over the country right now and are a major factor in the revitalization of older small downtowns like Belding.
Cottage business owners are typically crafters, tradespeople and hobbyists who have specialized skill sets in arts, crafts, music, specialty foods and personal services. These hometown entrepreneurs can be very successful, especially when they are supported by friends, family or their neighbors who would prefer the personal touch used to create the goods and services that they need without always having to drive to the big city.
There area multitude of potential cottage businesses including the following;
Candy or chocolate shop
Coffee shop and café
Women’s clothing boutique
Crafts – wood, pottery
Tax or financial services
Spirit wear, sporting goods
Gourmet food, coffees, and teas
Massage therapy or physical therapy
Yoga and/or reflexology
Sewing, knitting supplies
Homemade jewelry and jewelry making classes
Pet grooming, supplies and foods
Sign and print shop
Baby and kids clothing consignment
Small tool rental
Billiards and ping pong
Kayak rental and sales
Fishing supplies and bait
Multiple small offices with shared reception
Home decorating goods and decorating services
Cooking and kitchen supply shop
Computer sales and service
The benefit of a cottage business is that more than one shop can share space to hold down overhead costs.
Want to know how to get started?
First, create a business plan. There are a number of sites on the internet that can show you how to do this including sample plans.
Second, make a list of potential customers in a 25-mile radius from Belding including friends, family and friends of family. Ask them if they would support your new business or maybe help you get started.
Then, find a vacant building or storefront that would suit your needs. This could include an existing business where you could rent some space, or a vacant space that you could share with one or more other cottage type businesses.
Next, work with a local realtor or building owner to draft a lease or purchase agreement. Contact friends or local contractors to help with any set up for build out requirements so that your new space meets your business needs.
Most importantly, when renting a space that is currently vacant, remember that you can negotiate a monthly lease payment that starts low and doesn’t increase until your business is better established.
Good luck, and have fun !!