Starting a business any time can feel a little scary and overwhelming. Couple that with everything that happened in 2020, and it can seem downright terrifying.

However, with an end to the pandemic hopefully on the horizon, 2021 could be the perfect time to start your career as a small business owner. Here in Jefferson County, we’re ready to welcome and support a wide range of new businesses into our professional community.

Are you ready to be a small business owner but not sure what type of business you want to start? Here’s a list of some great businesses we believe every small town needs.


The key to a successful, hometown restaurant is finding what people want that they don’t already have. It may be tempting to see another successful restaurant in the area and copy what makes them great, but try catering to a style that locals can’t find nearby.

Here in Jefferson County, we have some excellent locally owned eateries, but there are plenty of styles and tastes to open your own restaurant that stands out from the rest.

Coffee Shop

Coffee is essential just about everywhere you go, and great coffee shops are a must for any town, large or small. Coffee shops are great for meeting spaces and family-friendly hangout spots. If you can provide convenience, sweet treats like pastries or donuts, and delicious coffee, there’s excellent potential for your business to thrive.


Speaking of sweet treats, a great bakery is a must for a small town. From your morning breakfast to birthday cakes for your kids, bakeries can fill a wide range of small-town needs. While owning and operating a bakery can be hard work, the benefits can be quite rewarding if baking is something you’re passionate about.

Bakeries can also provide several opportunities to partner with other local businesses (like the aforementioned coffee shops and restaurants) and can be a great way to give back to those in need in the community.

Handyman or contractor

A reliable handyman is always in demand no matter where you live. Especially in an area like Jefferson County where we value historic homes and buildings, a quality handyman or contractor who can address problems in these aging structures can be invaluable.

Automotive repairs

Everyone will eventually need to work on their vehicle, and a reliable mechanic is essential for any small town or rural community. Automotive repairs are also the type of business where satisfied customers are likely to sing your praises to their friends and family, promoting fast growth potential.

Home or business cleaning

Folks are busier now more than ever and hiring a professional home or business cleaning service could be just what your potential customers are looking for. Like a quality automotive repair business, a professional cleaning service benefits tremendously from word-of-mouth advertising and business referrals.

IT and computer services

One of the lessons we’ve all learned from the pandemic is the need for reliable IT and computer services, which means there’s always a need for reliable tech support. The services are especially valuable for businesses who are moving more of their daily operations and/or sales online.

Pet grooming and boarding

Pet businesses are a multibillion-dollar industry in the United States and are showing no signs of slowing down. Pet grooming and boarding has the flexibility of adapting to the needs of a particular community and can partner with existing pet stores to offer complementary services.

Salon or barbershop

Everyone needs a great haircut in the shape and style that works best for them. With an endlessly wide range of styles, salons and barbershops have the built-in flexibility of addressing a niche market for folks who are looking for a particular type of haircut.


In Jefferson County, there’s no shortage of grassy spaces, which means lawn care is an essential part of life. If your business can offer both lawn and gardening services, there’ll be no shortage of potential clients for your growing business.

Ice cream shop

Ice cream shops are a go-to favorite for anyone who loves sweet treats and a family-friendly atmosphere. Ice cream shops can also be a great way to open a business in the foodservice industry without investing in a full-fledged restaurant.

Sporting goods store

Jefferson County is known as the Lakeside of the Smokies for a reason, and sporting goods shops are great ways to make sure the anglers heading out to Douglas and Cherokee Lakes have everything they need for a day out on the water.

Sporting goods stores are also great ways to connect with youth leagues and high school teams by providing gear and equipment that’s specific to the area.


Flowers brighten anyone’s day, and flower shops serve a surprisingly high number of needs for any community. Weddings, proms, holidays, and funerals are just a few of the occasions where beautiful, fresh-cut flowers are traditionally needed. Flower shops can be a great way to start your own business without the high overhead of starting a restaurant or coffee shop.

Painting business

Professional painters are needed anywhere there’s business or home growth, and this service fills a definite need for contractors and homeowners alike. There’s also plenty of ways to build partnerships with existing companies for more consistent projects.

Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce is Ready to Help Launch Your New Business

If you’re ready to start a business in 2021, Jefferson County, Tennessee, is the perfect place to get started. Located at the intersection of two major interstates, close to seven regional higher education institutions, and just a short drive from cities like Knoxville, Oak Ridge, Johnson City, and Asheville, Jefferson County is primed with business opportunities.

If you have a business in Jefferson County or if you’re looking to expand to our growing area, we’re here to help. Become a member of the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce today to start taking advantage of all the workshops, networking, and other benefits we have to offer. To find out more about how to join or to learn about how we can be a difference-maker for your small business, contact us online or by calling 865-397-9642.