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How to Start a Spice Store

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 Spice Store

Fast Facts

Investment range

$7,900 - $62,800

Revenue potential

$91,250 - $456,250 p.a.

Time to build

1 – 3 months

Profit potential

$45,625 - $92,250 p.a.

Industry trend




From Chef’s Table to Top Chef, Hell’s Kitchen and beyond, the endless stream of popular food shows has inspired countless amateur chefs to whip up their own tasty creations. Whether at home or in a restaurant, all chefs need a full spice rack. That’s why the global spice market is worth nearly $19 billion and still growing. 

You could ride this wave by starting your own spice store, and make a good living while providing cooks with the ingredients they need to make mouth-watering dishes. But before you get out the grinder, you’ll probably need a bit of business know-how. 

Lucky for you, this step-by-step guide has all the insight you need to start a spice store that should generate some spicy profits. 

Step 1: Decide if the Business Is Right for You

Pros and cons


  • The market for spices is growing
  • Almost every household uses spices
  • Opportunity to sell related products such as condiments


  • High startup costs for a brick-and-mortar store
  • Compete with grocery stores

Spice industry trends

Industry size and growth

Spice industry size and growth

Trends and challenges

Spice Industry Trends and Challenges


  • Consumers increasingly prefer spices with health benefits, such as cayenne pepper, cinnamon, garlic, and ginger 
  • Demand is growing for international spice blends, such as African or Indian blends


  • Raw material and labor shortages in spice-producing countries have made sourcing more difficult 
  • More consumers are buying spices online, which poses a challenge to brick-and-mortar shops while offering an opportunity for an online shop

How much does it cost to start a spice store business?

Startup costs range from $8,000 for an online shop to $60,000 for a brick-and-mortar store. Either way you’ll need an inventory of spices, jars and packaging materials, and grinders. To open a shop you’ll have to spend on renting and preparing the space. 

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

  • Spice jars and packaging materials
  • Spice grinders
  • Shelving (for a physical store)
  • POS system (for a physical store)
Start-up CostsBallpark RangeAverage
Setting up a business name and corporation$100 - $500$300
Business licenses and permits$200 - $300$250
Website$200 - $1,000$600
Initial Marketing Budget$300 - $500 $400
Inventory of spices$5,000 - $30,000$17,500
Jars and other packaging materials$2,000 - $20,000$11,000
Space rental and preparation$0 - $10,000$5,000
Total$7,900 - $62,800$35,350

How much can you earn from a spice store business?

Spice Store Earnings Forecast

What you charge for spices and spice blends will vary greatly based on the cost of the spice ingredients. These calculations assume an average customer sale of $25 and a profit margin of 50%. 

In your first year or two, you could work from home and make 10 sales per day online, bringing in more than $90,000 in revenue. This would mean nearly $46,000 in profit, assuming that 50% margin. 

As you gain traction, sales could climb to 50 sales per day. At this stage, you might have a facility to prepare and package spices and hire staff, reducing your margin to 20%. With annual revenue of more than $450,000, you’d make a tidy profit of more than $91,000. 

What barriers to entry are there?

There are a few barriers to entry for a spice store. Your biggest challenges will be:

  • Funding the startup costs
  • Coming up with unique blends
  • Breaking into a competitive market

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Step 2: Hone Your Idea

develop a business idea

Now that you know what’s involved in starting a spice store, 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 spice stores in your area and online to examine their products, price points, and what sells best.

  • Make a list of spice stores that offer similar products. 
  • Review your competitors’ products – their variety, pricing, and specialty items – and marketing strategies. Perhaps you could offer items they don’t. 
  • 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 and then seek to leverage those areas where they fall short. 

This should identify areas where you can 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 market is missing a store that specializes in Indian spices, or South African spice blends. 

You might consider targeting a niche, such as Italian spices, or healthful spices.

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

What? Determine the spices that you’ll offer

Be sure to offer basic spices like:

  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Onion powder and garlic powder
  • Chilli powder
  • Bay leaves

But you’ll also want to offer rare spices and appealing blends to make your store stand out. You can also offer related items like olive oil or specialty condiments. 

How much should you charge for spices?

Your spice prices will vary, and should be based on the market as well as your costs to produce and package your goods. 

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

It’s difficult to pin down a target market for a spice store, since nearly everyone uses spices. In terms of social media, you should leverage as many platforms as possible, including TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook. 

An even better strategy might be to place ads on cooking blogs and recipe sites. 

Where? Choose a spice store location

Selecting the right location can be pivotal for the success of your spice store. Here are some important factors to consider:

  • Foot Traffic: Choose a location frequented by potential customers, like food markets, shopping centers or busy streets.
  • Visibility: A store in a visible location can attract more spontaneous shoppers.
  • Competition: Research nearby businesses to avoid oversaturation and identify potential complementary stores.
  • Size & Layout: Ensure the space can accommodate your inventory, display areas, and potential growth.
  • Local Market Demand: Research local cuisine and culture to determine which spices might be in higher demand.
  • Local Suppliers: Being near suppliers can reduce shipping costs and increase inventory turnover.
Spice Store business idea rating

Step 3: Brainstorm a Spice Store Name

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 “spices” or “spice blends”, boosts SEO
  • Name should allow for expansion, for ex: “Flavor Odyssey” over “Gourmet Grind”
  • A location-based name can help establish a strong connection with your local community and help with the SEO but might hinder future expansion

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 Spice Store Business Plan

Here are the key components of a business plan:

what to include in a business plan
  • Executive Summary: Provide a concise summary of your business plan, outlining your business objectives, target market, and financial projections.
  • Business Overview: Describe your spice store, including its location, size, and the wide range of spices and related products you plan to offer.
  • Product and Services: Detail the various spices, herbs, seasonings, and related products you will stock, along with their sources, quality, and any additional services like spice blending or custom orders.
  • Market Analysis: Analyze the demand for spices and seasonings in your area, identify your target customers, and consider trends in culinary preferences and health-conscious choices.
  • Competitive Analysis: Identify and assess competitors in the spice retail industry locally or online, highlighting your unique selling points and competitive advantages.
  • Sales and Marketing: Explain your strategies for promoting your business, including branding, online presence, in-store displays, and partnerships with local food businesses.
  • Management Team: Introduce yourself and any key team members involved in running the spice store, emphasizing their relevant expertise and roles.
  • Operations Plan: Describe the daily operations of your store, covering inventory management, supplier relationships, store layout, and operating hours.
  • Financial Plan: Present financial projections, including startup costs, sales forecasts, pricing strategies, and operating expenses, to demonstrate the profitability of your business.
  • Appendix: Include supplementary materials such as supplier agreements, spice product catalogs, and lease agreements to support your 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 spice stores. 

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 spice store will shape your taxes, personal liability, and business registration requirements, so choose wisely. 

Here are the main options:

types of business structures
  • 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.

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. 

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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:

types of business financing
  • 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 spice store business. You might also try crowdfunding if you have an innovative concept.  

Step 8: Apply for Spice Store Business Licenses and Permits

Business Licenses and Permits

Starting a spice store 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. 

To produce and sell spices, you may need certain health permits at the state and local levels. Check with your state and local governments for requirements. For some spices, you may need FDA facility registration. You can find out more on the FDA website

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 spice store 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:

types of business insurance
  • 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.

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 Lightspeed, Vend, or RetailPro, to manage your inventory, purchases, sales, and prices. 


  • 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. 


Here are some powerful marketing strategies for your future business:

  • In-Store Demos and Sampling — Offer live demonstrations and free samples to showcase the aromas and flavors of your spices, enticing customers to try new blends.
  • Local Restaurant Collaborations — Partner with nearby restaurants to supply your unique spice blends, enhancing local buzz and brand visibility.
  • Seasonal Spice Bundles — Develop curated spice bundles for different seasons or holidays, offering themed options for cooking enthusiasts.
  • Educational Workshops and Classes — Host events to educate customers on spice versatility, transforming them into knowledgeable patrons.
  • Loyalty Programs and Spice Clubs — Implement rewards programs to offer discounts, early access to new products, and special promotions, boosting customer retention.
  • Social Media Engagement — Launch challenges with a branded hashtag to encourage sharing of spice-infused recipes, increasing online visibility.
  • Influencer Partnerships — Collaborate with culinary influencers to create engaging content that showcases your spices, reaching a broader audience.
  • Packaging Innovation — Invest in attractive, eco-friendly packaging that preserves spice quality and draws attention on shelves.
  • Community Involvement — Engage in community events and farmers markets to interact directly with potential customers, offering hands-on experiences with your products.
  • Limited Edition Releases — Offer seasonal or limited edition blends to generate excitement and urgency, driving sales and enhancing brand engagement.
  • Local SEO — Optimize your online presence on local business listings and encourage customer reviews to boost local search visibility.

Focus on USPs

unique selling proposition

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 spice store 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 spices store business could be: 

  • Spice up your creations with uniquely appealing blends
  • Exotic spice blends for every palate
  • The best spices for health and wellness


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 spices store business, or a LinkedIn contact of yours is connected to dozens of potential clients. Maybe your cousin or neighbor has been working in spice stores 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 spice stores. 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

If you’re starting out small from a home office, you may not need any employees. But as your business grows, you will likely need workers to fill various roles. Potential positions for a spice store business include:

  • Store Clerks – assist customers, make sales
  • Spice Grinders and Packagers – prepare and package spices
  • General Manager – accounting, scheduling, inventory management
  • Marketing Lead – create marketing strategies; social media

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 Spice Store – Start Making Money!

Running a Business

The market for spices is never going away and is actually growing as more people embrace cooking. A spice store, whether online or physical, allows you to get in on that market and use your creativity to create unique blends. If you’re innovative, you can make a good living while following your spice passion.

You’ve done your business homework, so now it’s time to open your shop and start grinding those spices! 

Spice Store Business FAQs

Is a spice store profitable?

It’s difficult to make a physical spice store profitable, as most people buy their spices at the grocery store or online. You could make an online spice store profitable with some innovation and marketing.

What is the growth potential of a spice store?

Most spice stores are not going to grow significantly. It is possible, however, if you have the resources to grow your company into a well-known brand like McCormick’s.

Can you start a spice store on the side?

You could start an online spice store as a side hustle. You’ll just have to spend your free time marketing, making blends, and packaging your spices.

Do I need FDA approval to sell spices?

For some spices, you may need FDA facility registration. You can find out more on the FDA website. Also, check with your state and local governments for information on any required health permits.


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How to Start a Spice Store