World Building: Small Businesses

While we think a lot about plot when writing a story, it’s also vitally important to build the world around the events your character experiences. Where will they bump into an old flame? When they lose their job at a big corporation in the city, what mom ‘n’ pop shop will hire them?

Small businesses can be great fodder for many genres, but they are the backbone of cozy mysteries. The ones I’ve listed here can be run by only a handful of people, which makes for closer interactions between the employers. Have a family run the place and you have even more drama.

If you’d like other handy lists or articles to help keep you inspired, check out my Writers’ Resources page.

  • accountant’s office
  • antique store
  • art gallery
  • auto body shop
  • bakery
  • bank
  • bar
  • book store
  • butcher shop
  • cafe
  • car repair/auto body
  • cleaning company
  • coffee shop
  • comic book store
  • convenience store
  • computer repair
  • construction company
  • craft store
  • daycare
  • doctor’s office
  • flower shop
  • funeral home
  • gas station
  • gym
  • hair salon
  • hardware store
  • horse stable
  • HVAC company
  • ice cream shop
  • insurance office
  • interior design company
  • jewelry store
  • landscaping company
  • law office
  • lumber mill
  • mechanic’s
  • music store
  • new age shop
  • office supply store
  • organic grocery store
  • party planner
  • party supply shop
  • pet groomer’s
  • pet rescue
  • pet store
  • pharmacy
  • photography studio
  • pizza place
  • plumbing company
  • real estate agency
  • tea shop
  • toy store
  • theater
  • used car lot
  • vet clinic
  • video store (outdated at this point, but it could work somewhere)

If there’s a business you’d like to see here, leave a comment and I’ll add it!

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keepingand The Graveside DetectiveHer short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Siren’s Call, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.


1 Comment

Filed under On Writing

One response to “World Building: Small Businesses

  1. One of my characters owned a car yard. The inspiration and information for this came from someone I interviewed who once was a salesman who owned such a business.

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