What do you need to open a small retail store?

Updated February 21, 2017

Opening a retail store requires research and planning. There are many things even a small retail store needs before it can open for business.


A location with sufficient foot traffic will help the store succeed. Choose several good locations as options, and then check area zoning laws to find out which locations are best suited.


Some zoning ordinances limit what size the store can be, and what products can be sold. Be sure a location is legally permitted by the local zoning board before putting down a deposit.


A business license from the local government office is mandatory for any new retail store. A retail sales tax license may also be required depending on state laws. Consult an attorney, or your state's office of taxation, to see if a retail store needs a tax certificate.


Take the time to find wholesalers that offer the correct products, have reasonable shipping terms and accept multiple methods of payment.

Product Laws

The laws regarding the sale of what can be considered hazardous materials vary from state to state. Before deciding on what product to sell, be sure there are no special laws regarding the handling and sale of that product.

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About the Author

George N. Root III began writing professionally in 1985. His publishing credits include a weekly column in the "Lockport Union Sun and Journal" along with the "Spectrum," the "Niagara Falls Gazette," "Tonawanda News," "Watertown Daily News" and the "Buffalo News." Root has a Bachelor of Arts in English from the State University of New York, Buffalo.