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How to Start a Mini Supermarket

Written by:

Carolyn Young is a business writer who focuses on entrepreneurial concepts and the business formation. She has over 25 years of experience in business roles, and has authored several entrepreneurship textbooks.

Edited by:

David has been writing and learning about business, finance and globalization for a quarter-century, starting with a small New York consulting firm in the 1990s.

How to Start a Mini Supermarket

Fast Facts

Investment range

$42,900 - $76,900

Revenue potential

$438,000 - $730,000 p.a.

Time to build

3 – 6 months

Profit potential

$109,500 - $182,500 p.a.

Industry trend




Mini supermarkets are often a convenient option for consumers who just need to pick up a few items. Sometimes mini supermarkets specialize in certain types of items, like those of a certain ethnicity or that cater to a vegan diet. They differentiate themselves by offering items that cannot be found at the grocery store.

If you want to get into the $800 billion grocery store industry without a huge investment, you could start your own mini supermarket and make a good living.

But before you jump in, you need to understand the business. Luckily, this step-by-step guide details all the information you need to start a successful mini supermarket. 

Step 1: Decide if the Business Is Right for You

Pros and cons


  • Good profit potential
  • Create a competitive advantage by offering specialty foods
  • Large and growing market


  • High startup costs
  • Takes time to build brand awareness

Mini supermarket industry trends

Industry size and growth

Mini Supermarket industry size and growth

Trends and challenges


  • Plant based and healthy foods specialty food stores are becoming more popular.
  • Growing ethnic populations are increasing the profits of specialty food mini supermarkets.


  • Supply chain issues are making it difficult for mini supermarkets to keep their shelves stocked.
  • Increased wholesale item prices are decreasing the profit margins of mini supermarkets.
Mini Supermarket Trends and Challenges

Demand hotspots

  • Most popular states – The most popular states for grocery store workers are Washington, Utah, and South Dakota.((https://www.zippia.com/grocery-worker-jobs/best-states/))
  • Least popular states – The least popular states for grocery store workers are Maine, Iowa, and Michigan. 
Mini Supermarket demand hotspots

How much does it cost to start a mini supermarket business?

Startup costs for a mini supermarket range from $40,000 to $75,000. Costs include the space rental and preparation, inventory, and an operating budget. 

You’ll need a handful of items to successfully launch your mini supermarket business, including: 

  • Aisle partitions
  • Shelving
  • Checkout counter
  • POS system
Start-up CostsBallpark RangeAverage
Setting up a business name and corporation$100 - $500$300
Business licenses and permits$100 - $300$200
Website$200 - $1,000$600
Space rental$2,000 - $4,000$3,000
Store preparation$20,000 - $30,000$25,000
Operating budget$10,000 - $20,000$15,000
Marketing budget$400 - $600 $500
Inventory$10,000 - $20,000$15,000
Total$42,900 - $76,900$59,900

How much can you earn from a mini supermarket business?

How much you charge for items will vary. These calculations will assume an average sale per customer of $40. Your profit margin should be about 25%. 

In your first year or two, you might have 30 customers a day, bringing in $438,000 in revenue. This would mean $109,500 in profit, assuming that 25% margin. 

As you gain traction, you might have 50 customers a day. With annual revenue of $730,000, you’d make a tidy profit of $182,500.

Mini Supermarket earning forecast

What barriers to entry are there?

There are a few barriers to entry for a mini supermarket. Your biggest challenges will be:

  • Funding the startup costs
  • Creating awareness of your store

Related Business Ideas

If you’re still not sure whether this business idea is the right choice for you, here are some related business opportunities to help you on your path to entrepreneurial success.
How to Start a Mini Supermarket

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Step 2: Hone Your Idea

develop a business idea

Now that you know what’s involved in starting a mini supermarket, it’s a good idea to hone your concept in preparation to enter a competitive market. 

Market research could give you the upper hand even if you’ve got the perfect product. Conducting robust market research is crucial, as it will help you better understand your customers, your competitors, and the broader business landscape.

Analyze your competitors 

Research mini supermarkets  in your area to examine their products, price points, and customer reviews.

  • Make a list of businesses that offer similar products. 
  • Review your competitors’ products – their features, pricing, and quality – and marketing strategies.
  • Check out their online reviews and ratings on Google, Yelp, and Facebook to get an idea of what their customers like and dislike.
  • Identify your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses. 

This should identify areas where you can strengthen your business and gain a competitive edge to make better business decisions.

Why? Identify an opportunity

You’re looking for a market gap to fill. For instance, maybe the local market is missing a small supermarket that specializes in Indian food, or a vegan grocery item mini market.

You might consider targeting a niche, such as Mexican food.

This could jumpstart your word-of-mouth marketing and attract clients right away. 

What? Determine your products

You’ll need to choose the types of items that you want to offer, and select the products that are most desirable to customers. In addition to grocery items, you could also offer alcoholic beverages to increase your revenue potential.

How much should you charge for mini supermarket items?

Your pricing will depend on market prices in your area, but also on your cost to purchase the items. 

Once you know your costs, use this Step By Step profit margin calculator to determine your mark-up and final price points. Remember, the prices you use at launch should be subject to change if warranted by the market.

Who? Identify your target market

Your target market will depend on your specialty. If you decide to offer vegan grocery items, your market is likely to be younger, so you can find them on TikTok or Instagram.

Where? Choose a mini supermarket location

You’ll need to rent out a store front You can find commercial space to rent in your area on sites such as Craigslist, Crexi, and Instant Offices.

When choosing a commercial space, here are some rules to follow:

  • High Foot Traffic: Choose locations with a lot of pedestrian activity, as more foot traffic usually translates to more customers.
  • Accessibility: Ensure the location is easily accessible by car and public transportation, allowing convenient visits for customers.
  • Visibility: A spot that’s easily seen from main roads or intersections can attract spontaneous shoppers.
  • Parking Availability: A location with ample parking ensures convenience for customers who drive.
  • Proximity to Complementary Businesses: Being near businesses like pharmacies or banks can attract their customers after they finish their primary task.
  • Safety: A safe neighborhood or area encourages more evening and nighttime shopping.
  • Competitive Analysis: Avoid areas oversaturated with similar businesses to reduce direct competition.
  • Demographic Match: Ensure the local demographics match your target market, catering to their shopping needs and preferences.
  • Affordable Rent: Balance between a prime location and rent costs to maintain profitability.
  • Future Development Plans: Research any planned developments or changes in the area which might impact future business.
Mini Supermarket business idea rating

Step 3: Brainstorm a Mini Supermarket Name

Your business name is your business identity, so choose one that encapsulates your objectives, services, and mission in just a few words. You probably want a name that’s short and easy to remember, since much of your business, and your initial business in particular, will come from word-of-mouth referrals.

Here are some ideas for brainstorming your business name:

  • Short, unique, and catchy names tend to stand out
  • Names that are easy to say and spell tend to do better 
  • Name should be relevant to your product or service offerings
  • Ask around — family, friends, colleagues, social media — for suggestions
  • Including keywords, such as “mini mart” or “supermarket”, boosts SEO
  • Name should allow for expansion, for ex: “Neighbour Nest” and “Market Mingle”over “TinyTrolley Supermarket” or “PocketPantry Mart”
  • Avoid location-based names that might hinder future expansion
  • Use online tools like the Step by Step Business Name Generator. Just type in a few keywords and hit “generate” and you’ll have dozens of suggestions at your fingertips.

Once you’ve got a list of potential names, visit the website of the US Patent and Trademark Office to make sure they are available for registration and check the availability of related domain names using our Domain Name Search tool. Using “.com” or “.org” sharply increases credibility, so it’s best to focus on these. 

Finally, make your choice among the names that pass this screening and go ahead and reserve your business name with your state, start the trademark registration process, and complete your domain registration and social media account creation. 

Your business name is one of the key differentiators that sets your business apart. Once you pick a name, reserve it and start with the branding, it’s hard to switch to a new name. So be sure to carefully consider your choice before moving forward. 

Step 4: Create a Mini Supermarket Business Plan

Every business needs a plan. This will function as a guidebook to take your startup through the launch process and maintain focus on your key goals. A business plan also enables potential partners and investors to better understand your company and its vision:

  • Executive Summary: Provide a brief summary of your mini supermarket business plan, highlighting your goals and the unique selling points of your store.
  • Business Overview: Describe your mini supermarket, including its size, location, and the range of grocery products and services it will offer.
  • Product and Services: Detail the types of products you’ll stock, such as fresh produce, canned goods, and household essentials, as well as any additional services like a deli counter or bakery.
  • Market Analysis: Analyze the local market for grocery stores, considering factors like customer demographics, shopping habits, and demand for specialty products.
  • Competitive Analysis: Identify other supermarkets or grocery stores in your area, emphasizing how your store will differentiate itself, whether through pricing, product selection, or customer service.
  • Sales and Marketing: Explain your strategies for attracting shoppers, including advertising, promotions, and customer loyalty programs.
  • Management Team: Introduce key team members, such as store managers and cashiers, highlighting their experience in the retail industry.
  • Operations Plan: Outline the day-to-day operations of your mini supermarket, covering inventory management, staff scheduling, and customer service standards.
  • Financial Plan: Present financial projections, including startup costs, expected revenue, and profitability estimates based on pricing, customer traffic, and repeat business.
  • Appendix: Include any licenses or permits required to operate a supermarket, as well as floor plans, supplier agreements, and a list of initial inventory.
what to include in a business plan

If you’ve never created a business plan, it can be an intimidating task. You might consider hiring a business plan specialist to create a top-notch business plan for you.

Step 5: Register Your Business

Registering your business is an absolutely crucial step — it’s the prerequisite to paying taxes, raising capital, opening a bank account, and other guideposts on the road to getting a business up and running.

Plus, registration is exciting because it makes the entire process official. Once it’s complete, you’ll have your own business! 

Choose where to register your company

Your business location is important because it can affect taxes, legal requirements, and revenue. Most people will register their business in the state where they live, but if you are planning to expand, you might consider looking elsewhere, as some states could offer real advantages when it comes to mini supermarkets. 

If you’re willing to move, you could really maximize your business! Keep in mind, it’s relatively easy to transfer your business to another state. 

Choose your business structure

Business entities come in several varieties, each with its pros and cons. The legal structure you choose for your mini supermarket will shape your taxes, personal liability, and business registration requirements, so choose wisely. 

Here are the main options:

  • Sole Proprietorship – The most common structure for small businesses makes no legal distinction between company and owner. All income goes to the owner, who’s also liable for any debts, losses, or liabilities incurred by the business. The owner pays taxes on business income on his or her personal tax return.
  • General Partnership – Similar to a sole proprietorship, but for two or more people. Again, owners keep the profits and are liable for losses. The partners pay taxes on their share of business income on their personal tax returns.
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC) – Combines the characteristics of corporations with those of sole proprietorships or partnerships. Again, the owners are not personally liable for debts. Here’s how to form an LLC.
  • C Corp – Under this structure, the business is a distinct legal entity and the owner or owners are not personally liable for its debts. Owners take profits through shareholder dividends, rather than directly. The corporation pays taxes, and owners pay taxes on their dividends, which is sometimes referred to as double taxation. Read how to start a corporation here.
  • S Corp – An S-Corporation refers to the tax classification of the business but is not a business entity. An S-Corp can be either a corporation or an LLC, which just need to elect to be an S-Corp for tax status. In an S-Corp, income is passed through directly to shareholders, who pay taxes on their share of business income on their personal tax returns.
types of business structures

We recommend that new business owners choose LLC as it offers liability protection and pass-through taxation while being simpler to form than a corporation. You can form an LLC in as little as five minutes using an online LLC formation service. They will check that your business name is available before filing, submit your articles of organization, and answer any questions you might have. 

Form Your LLC

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Step 6: Register for Taxes

The final step before you’re able to pay taxes is getting an Employer Identification Number, or EIN. You can file for your EIN online or by mail or fax: visit the IRS website to learn more. Keep in mind, if you’ve chosen to be a sole proprietorship you can simply use your social security number as your EIN. 

Once you have your EIN, you’ll need to choose your tax year. Financially speaking, your business will operate in a calendar year (January–December) or a fiscal year, a 12-month period that can start in any month. This will determine your tax cycle, while your business structure will determine which taxes you’ll pay.

The IRS website also offers a tax-payers checklist, and taxes can be filed online.

It is important to consult an accountant or other professional to help you with your taxes to ensure you are completing them correctly.

Step 7: Fund your Business

Securing financing is your next step and there are plenty of ways to raise capital:

  • Bank loans: This is the most common method but getting approved requires a rock-solid business plan and strong credit history.
  • SBA-guaranteed loans: The Small Business Administration can act as guarantor, helping gain that elusive bank approval via an SBA-guaranteed loan.
  • Government grants: A handful of financial assistance programs help fund entrepreneurs. Visit Grants.gov to learn which might work for you.
  • Friends and Family: Reach out to friends and family to provide a business loan or investment in your concept. It’s a good idea to have legal advice when doing so because SEC regulations apply.
  • Crowdfunding: Websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo offer an increasingly popular low-risk option, in which donors fund your vision. Entrepreneurial crowdfunding sites like Fundable and WeFunder enable multiple investors to fund your business.
  • Personal: Self-fund your business via your savings or the sale of property or other assets.

Bank and SBA loans are probably the best option, other than friends and family, for funding a mini supermarket business. You might also try crowdfunding if you have an innovative concept.  

types of business financing

Step 8: Apply for Business Licenses and Permits

Business Licenses and Permits

Starting a mini supermarket business requires obtaining a number of licenses and permits from local, state, and federal governments.

Federal regulations, licenses, and permits associated with starting your business include doing business as (DBA), health licenses and permits from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), trademarks, copyrights, patents, and other intellectual properties, as well as industry-specific licenses and permits. 

If you offer alcoholic beverages, you’ll need to check state and local liquor licensing requirements.

You may also need state-level and local county or city-based licenses and permits. The license requirements and how to obtain them vary, so check the websites of your state, city, and county governments or contact the appropriate person to learn more. 

You could also check this SBA guide for your state’s requirements, but we recommend using MyCorporation’s Business License Compliance Package. They will research the exact forms you need for your business and state and provide them to ensure you’re fully compliant.

This is not a step to be taken lightly, as failing to comply with legal requirements can result in hefty penalties.

If you feel overwhelmed by this step or don’t know how to begin, it might be a good idea to hire a professional to help you check all the legal boxes.

Step 9: Open a Business Bank Account

Before you start making money, you’ll need a place to keep it, and that requires opening a bank account.

Keeping your business finances separate from your personal account makes it easy to file taxes and track your company’s income, so it’s worth doing even if you’re running your mini supermarket business as a sole proprietorship. Opening a business bank account is quite simple, and similar to opening a personal one. Most major banks offer accounts tailored for businesses — just inquire at your preferred bank to learn about their rates and features.

Banks vary in terms of offerings, so it’s a good idea to examine your options and select the best plan for you. Once you choose your bank, bring in your EIN (or Social Security Number if you decide on a sole proprietorship), articles of incorporation, and other legal documents and open your new account. 

Step 10: Get Business Insurance

Business insurance is an area that often gets overlooked yet it can be vital to your success as an entrepreneur. Insurance protects you from unexpected events that can have a devastating impact on your business.

Here are some types of insurance to consider:

  • General liability: The most comprehensive type of insurance, acting as a catch-all for many business elements that require coverage. If you get just one kind of insurance, this is it. It even protects against bodily injury and property damage.
  • Business Property: Provides coverage for your equipment and supplies.
  • Equipment Breakdown Insurance: Covers the cost of replacing or repairing equipment that has broken due to mechanical issues.
  • Worker’s compensation: Provides compensation to employees injured on the job.
  • Property: Covers your physical space, whether it is a cart, storefront, or office.
  • Commercial auto: Protection for your company-owned vehicle.
  • Professional liability: Protects against claims from a client who says they suffered a loss due to an error or omission in your work.
  • Business owner’s policy (BOP): This is an insurance plan that acts as an all-in-one insurance policy, a combination of the above insurance types.
types of business insurance

Step 11: Prepare to Launch

Launching a Business

As opening day nears, prepare for launch by reviewing and improving some key elements of your business. 

Essential software and tools

Being an entrepreneur often means wearing many hats, from marketing to sales to accounting, which can be overwhelming. Fortunately, many websites and digital tools are available to help simplify many business tasks.  

You may want to use industry-specific software, such as ITRetailLS Retail, or ECRS, to manage your ordering, inventory, and bookkeeping.


  • Popular web-based accounting programs for smaller businesses include Quickbooks, Freshbooks, and Xero
  • If you’re unfamiliar with basic accounting, you may want to hire a professional, especially as you begin. The consequences for filing incorrect tax documents can be harsh, so accuracy is crucial.

Create a website

Website development is crucial because your site is your online presence and needs to convince prospective clients of your expertise and professionalism. You can create your own website using services like WordPress, Wix, or Squarespace. This route is very affordable, but figuring out how to build a website can be time-consuming. If you lack tech-savvy, you can hire a web designer or developer to create a custom website for your business.

Your customers are unlikely to find your website, however, unless you follow Search Engine Optimization (SEO) practices. SEO will help your website appear closer to the top in relevant search results, a crucial element for increasing sales. 

Make sure that you optimize calls to action on your website. Experiment with text, color, size, and position of calls to action such as “Buy Now” or “Order”. This can sharply increase purchases if you’re offering curbside pickup or delivery. 


Here are some powerful marketing strategies for your future business:

  1. Loyalty Programs: Implement a loyalty program to reward frequent shoppers with discounts or exclusive deals, encouraging repeat business.
  2. In-store Promotions: Regularly host in-store promotions, such as buy-one-get-one-free offers or discounted bundles, to attract foot traffic and boost sales.
  3. Community Engagement: Actively participate in local events, sponsor community activities, and collaborate with nearby businesses to build strong relationships within your community.
  4. Social Media Contests: Run engaging contests on social media platforms, encouraging customers to share their experiences, photos, or product recommendations for a chance to win prizes.
  5. Personalized Marketing: Leverage customer data to send targeted promotions, personalized recommendations, and exclusive offers, enhancing the shopping experience and building customer loyalty.
  6. Cross-Promotions: Partner with complementary local businesses for cross-promotions, creating mutually beneficial deals that expand your customer base.
  7. Product Sampling: Offer free product samples or tastings in-store to introduce new items and create a positive buzz, enticing customers to make additional purchases.
  8. Customer Feedback Surveys: Regularly seek customer feedback through surveys to understand preferences, identify areas for improvement, and show customers that their opinions matter.
  9. Local SEO Optimization: Optimize your online presence for local searches by ensuring accurate business information on platforms like Google My Business, making it easier for nearby customers to find you.
  10. Mobile Marketing: Utilize SMS marketing and push notifications to send timely promotions, discounts, and updates directly to your customers’ mobile devices.

Focus on USPs

Unique selling propositions, or USPs, are the characteristics of a product or service that sets it apart from the competition. Customers today are inundated with buying options, so you’ll have a real advantage if they are able to quickly grasp how your mini supermarket meets their needs or wishes. It’s wise to do all you can to ensure your USPs stand out on your website and in your marketing and promotional materials, stimulating buyer desire. 

Global pizza chain Domino’s is renowned for its USP: “Hot pizza in 30 minutes or less, guaranteed.” Signature USPs for your mini supermarket business could be: 

  • All you need for your homemade Indian dishes
  • A market for your vegan lifestyle
  • Pickup your Mexican groceries at the curb
unique selling proposition


You may not like to network or use personal connections for business gain. But your personal and professional networks likely offer considerable untapped business potential. Maybe that Facebook friend you met in college is now running a mini supermarket business, or a LinkedIn contact of yours is connected to dozens of potential clients. Maybe your cousin or neighbor has been working in mini supermarkets for years and can offer invaluable insight and industry connections. 

The possibilities are endless, so it’s a good idea to review your personal and professional networks and reach out to those with possible links to or interest in mini supermarkets. You’ll probably generate new customers or find companies with which you could establish a partnership. 

Step 12: Build Your Team

Building a Team for a New Business

You will likely need workers to fill various roles. Potential positions for a mini supermarket business include:

  • Store Clerks – customer service, make sales
  • Stockers – stock shelves
  • Marketing Lead – create and implement marketing strategies
  • General Manager – accounting, scheduling, inventory management. 

At some point, you may need to hire all of these positions or simply a few, depending on the size and needs of your business. You might also hire multiple workers for a single role or a single worker for multiple roles, again depending on need. 

Free-of-charge methods to recruit employees include posting ads on popular platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, or Jobs.com. You might also consider a premium recruitment option, such as advertising on Indeed, Glassdoor, or ZipRecruiter. Further, if you have the resources, you could consider hiring a recruitment agency to help you find talent. 

Step 13: Run a Mini Supermarket – Start Making Money!

Running a Business

Nearly every town needs a specialty food store, and you can meet that need by starting your own mini supermarket. You can choose your specialty, make an investment, and be on your way to making a good living. If you’re successful, you could expand to new locations or even franchise your business.

You’ve got the business knowledge you need, so now you’re ready to get your successful mini supermarket up and running!

Mini Supermarket Business FAQs

Is a mini supermarket profitable?

A mini supermarket can be very profitable. It’s best to choose a niche and offer specialty items that can’t be found anywhere else.

What is the growth potential of a mini supermarket?

A successful mini supermarket could grow by expanding in size or adding new locations. It could even be a franchise opportunity.

Can you start a mini supermarket on the side?

No, a mini supermarket is definitely a full time business. It takes a lot of time to market the business and manage the store.

What is a mini supermarket called?

Mini supermarkets are sometimes called mini marts, or specialty food stores. They may also be called convenience stores.


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How to Start a Mini Supermarket