Top Small Businesses: Earlier this year, careerswave invited our readers to submit their favourite small businesses in the United States, and we were swamped with submissions for restaurants, coffee shops, Etsy shops, arcades, and more.
16 Top Small Businesses Spotlighted in 2022
Bakester’s Pastries in Willcox, Arizona
Bakester’s Pastries is a bakery/deli-style sandwich shop that serves sandwiches on fresh-baked bread as well as cinnamon buns, cookies, and biscuits and gravy.
Blue Mountain Coffee in West Palm Beach, Florida
Blue Mountain Coffee’s origins may be traced back to St. Andrew, Jamaica, where creator Allison Boettcher was born and reared. She began gathering and roasting coffee beans from the Blue Mountain on her family’s farm, inspired by the rich chocolate and Caribbean fruits of her birthplace. Boettcher’s shop now serves her own private Blue Mountain Coffee label, as well as typical food options including pancakes, sandwiches, salad, and pastries, as well as Jamaican delicacies like ackee and saltfish and curry chicken.
“Never get into business for the money alone, because it will become an empty fantasy chasing after a bundle of papers,” she said. “Instead, embrace the journey of choice as you work toward your goals.”
Bradley Bake Shop in Bogota, New Jersey
Bradley Bake Shop specialises in gluten-free, sugar-free, vegan, and keto delights, such as gluten-free sea salt brownies and keto-friendly carrot cake. Eleanor Bradley opened her shop in Bogota, New Jersey, in 2016 after the cookies she cooked for her gluten-free husband became popular with the community. She was also a teacher when she initially started the bakery, but she later resigned to focus solely on the bakery.
“The most fulfilling component is being my own boss, calling my own shots, and watching the business develop from virtually nothing to the point where people come in,” Bradley said. “Just last week, a couple of people came in and said they were suggested by friends or family members. That makes me happy since I put all into what I do.”
Brunch Snob in Phoenix
Keith and Celene Hillsbery’s Brunch Snob is a brunch restaurant that serves “comfort cuisine with a twist.” “We don’t simply serve your normal breakfast,” says Celene. To be honest, nothing we do is usual.”
“We’re simply blown away by how busy we are and how crazy people are with the restaurant — the inside, how charming it is, and how amazing the cuisine is,” Celene added. “‘Did you ever imagine we’d be this busy?’ we’ve remarked to one other several times.” We both answered, ‘No way.’ We never expected to be that busy.”
Doo’s Amazing Tours in St. Petersburg, Florida
Doo’s Amazing Excursions is a woman-owned tour company that offers guided tours on paddle boards, Segways, and bikes that focus on St. Petersburg’s local history, flora, and fauna. Owner Louisa Scopacasa opened the business in 2012, and it has since won multiple local and national distinctions, including a Tripadvisor 2020 Travelers’ Choice Award.
“The finest part of being a business owner is knowing that I had a memorable influence on the customer’s trip,” Scopacasa remarked. “I love hearing from customers that their tour with me was the highlight of their vacation. I’d also like to think that I’ve inspired young girls to follow their dreams and open their own enterprises.”
Far Out Arcade in Manhattan, Kansas
Every Thursday through Sunday, guests to the Far Out Arcade may spend the night playing old video arcade games. Scott Anderson owns Far Out Arcade and has lived in Manhattan, Kansas, for 20 years.
“Through cost, location, and compassion, we serve the whole community,” Anderson added. “In reality, Far Out Arcade has evolved into its own community inside the community. When unforeseen circumstances prevented me from being present in May, volunteers stepped up and hosted on my behalf.”
Handcrafted in Chicago by Anna and Julianna
Anna and Julianna Babin own the Etsy shop Happily Handcrafted By Anna & Julianna. Julianna’s love in crafts inspired the concept. The couple decided selling at local craft fairs before deciding to open an Etsy shop to broaden their consumer base. Polymer clay masterpieces, decoupage décor, ribbon bookmarks, and other items are available in their shop.
“We truly like talking with our customers and discussing the tales and processes behind our work,” they stated. “Now that we’re on Etsy, we’re still engaging with our audience on social media, and we love getting input and suggestions for what our customers want us to make next.”
Litwickscandle in Miramar, Florida
Tracy Welsh founded Litwickscandle as a result of her personal love for candles. During the epidemic, she was inspired to start manufacturing her own, and she now offers candles and other goods created from 100% natural components.
“I used to spend a lot of money at Bath & Body Works. “When COVID-19 came and we couldn’t go to the stores anymore, I had to figure out how I was going to acquire my supply of candles,” she explained. “The lightbulb went out, but only after I realised how much money I was wasting on candles!” I decided to experiment with creating candles myself, and Litwickscandle was born.”
Naughty Pine Brewing Company in Westlake Village, California
Naughty Pine Brewing Company is noted for its 1920s speakeasy ambiance. Owner Brittany Brouhard previously co-founded and opened a brewery on Maui over ten years ago, and she is now celebrating the one-year anniversary of her current endeavour.
“My motivation comes from a lot of sources, including other brewery owners with whom I’ve formed ties over the years, my husband and his family, all of whom are small business owners, and friends who made the same leap I did in 2020,” Brouhard explained. “And my daughter. My daughter was a big influence and element in this decision.
“Going out on my own means being able to pivot at any time if my daughter needs me at home, has a class trip, or a dancing recital,” she explained. “It also means creating a space to call our own, acting as a second home for her, being a role model for her as a parent and business owner, and giving a location that she may eventually take over.”
Psychic Teaz in Maple Falls, Washington
Psychic Teaz began several decades ago, when co-owner Susan Lautner’s husband, Daniel Muffoletto, created a special trademark tea to assist artists stay mentally awake and physically balanced while on tour. This tea became one of four varieties that make the Psychic Teaz brand. The company is currently on a mission to assist people all around the world “heal and feel better.”
“I value assisting people a lot,” Lautner added. “This is my inspiration, and I aim to reach millions.”
A Different Reality Records in Cleveland
Augustus Payne, a music industry veteran and cancer survivor who founded A Separate Reality Records in Cleveland, was nominated for the second time this year.
“It’s an incredible feeling to know that people actually like the music you’re selling,” Payne remarked. “This is not just a business for me; it is a real labour of love.”
SK Butterflies in Miami
Kiki Sylvain has spent the last decade cultivating butterflies at her company, SK Butterflies. When she discovered a dead butterfly on the floor of her greenhouse, her husband, Sedrick, recommended she frame it. Sedrick said, “I love it! That’s something I’d purchase.” The couple identified a possible business opportunity in Kiki’s newfound pastime and decided to launch SK Butterflies. In addition to butterfly breeding, the company sells recycled butterfly wings jewellery and home décor.
“Butterfly breeding, while entertaining, can be difficult,” Sylvain explained. “I must make that no outside predators harm the butterflies. I make every effort to increase their chances of survival. They all deserve to enjoy happy lives.”
Smokin J’s BBQ in Poway, California
Joshua George, his brother Jeremy George, and Jeremy’s wife Mckenzie George started this barbeque joint. Smokin J’s BBQ serves slow-smoked barbecue alongside housemade rubs and sauces in their community. In addition to providing a variety of meats, the San Diego-area restaurant seeks to create an environment in which every client who arrives feels welcomed like an old friend.
“One of the most satisfying aspects of being a small business owner was supporting that we had created a business that was not only supporting ourselves, but also the lives and families of many of our workers,” Joshua added. “I still get warm and fuzzy feelings thinking about how we built a business that is profitable enough for us to compensate our staff the way we do.”
Willcox, Arizona Coffee Shop
Source of Coffee is a family-owned coffee shop that specialises in espresso made from organic coffee produced in Arizona. According to owners Benjamin Morgan, Dana and Debra Suorsa, their café has a European vibe that encourages people to remain a long and play chess or read a book by the fire. Source of Coffee takes pleasure in actively supporting its local community by sponsoring free events and bringing in other local companies for its on-site farmers market.
“Each cup we serve is as vital as the first, and the reward is that our community continues to choose us,” the proprietors added. “We’re a genuine coffee house — a destination rather than a quick fix, drive-thru shop, and we’re proud of it.”
Sunrise Coffee Shop and Wine Cellar in Madison, Florida
Sunrise Coffee Shop and Wine Cellar is a cafe-turned-restaurant serving coffee, tea, wine, and farm-to-table fare such as sandwiches, soups, and salads. The location also accommodates private gatherings, murder mystery dinners, wine tastings, and live music. Moruna Sheppard, the owner, characterises her business as “a touch of vintage nostalgia, blending a love of people, antiques, travel, coffee, teas, excellent wines, beers, nutritious organic meals, and fresh baked goodies in a pleasant and small restaurant lounge.”
“Sunrise is more of a ‘garden,’ where all of the seeds of love are sown,” she explained. “It’s blossomed such beauty and unexpected friendships, fertile and plentiful.”
Tigre’s Fuego in Redondo Beach, California
Tigre’s Fuego is a take-out taco and ceviche restaurant that takes pleasure in utilising high-quality ingredients and serving authentic, handcrafted meals. The restaurant is co-owned by brothers Jonathan and Jason Baran, as well as chefs Tyler Gugliotta and Jimmy Tapia.
“Hospitality is unlike anything else,” Jonathan stated. “I consider many of my customers to be dear friends, although I had never met them before, so that’s definitely a blessing.”