How to Start an Indian Grocery Store

If the vibrant flavors of Indian cuisine excite you and you have ample experience in the industry, opening an Indian grocery store business could provide an excellent source of income. An Indian grocery store sells Indian foods and spices, often offering a large range of otherwise niche and hard-to-find items as well as a range of local products. They may sell prepared foods as well as boxed goods.

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Learn how to start your own Indian Grocery Store and whether it is the right fit for you.


Start an Indian Grocery Store by following these 10 steps:

You have found the perfect business idea, and now you are ready to take the next step. There is more to starting a business than just registering it with the state. We have put together this simple guide to starting your Indian Grocery Store. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant.

Check out our How to Start a Business page.

STEP 1: Plan your business

A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. It will help you map out the specifics of your business and discover some unknowns. A few important topics to consider are:

Luckily we have done a lot of this research for you.

What are the costs involved in opening an Indian Grocery Store?

Opening an Indian grocery store initially requires a significant amount of money. This is because you will need to purchase or lease a building and then stock your inventory. Initial costs may also include equipment, computers, and even websites for those who wish to sell online. These costs can range from $50,000 to $300,000 depending on the size and scale of the business.

What are the ongoing expenses for an Indian Grocery Store?

There are numerous ongoing expenses when operating an Indian grocery store. Most of those come from maintaining the space and purchasing inventory. It can be very difficult to manage inventory loss in a grocery store. If fresh products are not sold in time, that adds significant cost to the business's operations. For that reason, most companies build in specific loss values for their business as a component of ongoing expenses.

Who is the target market?

The target market for an Indian grocery store can be any community in which there is not already one present or demand is growing. In areas with ample cultural diversity, this type of business can thrive.

How does an Indian Grocery Store make money?

An Indian grocery store makes money by selling foods at a higher price than what they paid to purchase them. They typically purchase from distributors in the area and markup prices to profit from customers.

How much can you charge customers?

The cost for products differs by item, of course. One key thing to remember is that you should always price your products based on the cost to purchase them plus a profit margin. Some Indian products may require international shipping and may be harder to find. That can drive up their value considerably. Be sure to price out the competition (both locally and online) to determine the best price point for all of the products you sell.

How much profit can an Indian Grocery Store make?

Profit for an Indian grocery store ranges widely on the products themselves. Each item has a specific profit margin protection ranging from 5% to 25%. Prepared foods may also be a profitable avenue in some areas. The size of the establishment, the local market, and many other factors play a role in the profits a store can expect.

How can you make your business more profitable?

The business may grow in profitability by expanding to offer more Indian cuisine options. Keep in mind that adding in prepared foods may also open the door for catering opportunities and allow for a small food truck or a few seats in the grocery store for consumers to sit and eat. These can add value to many organizations.

What will you name your business?

Choosing the right name is very important. Read our detailed guide on how to name your business. We recommend checking if the business name you choose is available as a web domain and securing it early so no one else can take it.

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STEP 2: Form a legal entity

The most common business structure types are the sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), and corporation.

Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC or corporation protects you from being held personally liable if your Indian Grocery Store is sued.

Form Your LLC

Read our Guide to Form Your Own LLC

Have a Professional Service Form your LLC for You

Two such reliable services:

You can start an LLC yourself and pay only the minimal state LLC costs or hire one of the Best LLC Services for a small, additional fee.

Recommended: You will need to elect a registered agent for your LLC. LLC formation packages usually include a free year of registered agent services. You can choose to hire a registered agent or act as your own.

STEP 3: Register for taxes

You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.

In order to register for taxes you will need to apply for an EIN. It's really easy and free!

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You can acquire your EIN for free through the IRS website, via fax, or by mail. If you would like to learn more about EINs and how they can benefit your LLC, read our article, What is an EIN?.

Learn how to get an EIN in our What is an EIN guide or find your existing EIN using our EIN lookup guide.

Small Business Taxes

Depending on which business structure you choose, you might have different options for how your business will be taxed. For example, some LLCs could benefit from being taxed as an S corporation (S corp).

You can learn more about small business taxes in these guides:

There are specific state taxes that might apply to your business. Learn more about state sales tax and franchise taxes in our state sales tax guides.

STEP 4: Open a business bank account & credit card

Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential for personal asset protection.

When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your business is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.

Additionally, learning how to build business credit can help you get credit cards and other financing in your business's name (instead of yours), better interest rates, higher lines of credit, and more.

Open a business bank account

  • This separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
  • It also makes accounting and tax filing easier.
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Recommended: Read our Best Banks for Small Business review to find the best national bank, credit union, business-loan friendly banks, one with many brick-and-mortar locations, and more.

Open net-30 accounts

When it comes to establishing your business credit, net-30 vendors are considered the way to go. The term "net-30," which is popular among vendors, refers to a business credit arrangement where the company pays the vendor within 30 days of receiving goods or services.

Net-30 credit terms are often used for businesses that need to obtain inventory quickly but do not have the cash on hand.

Besides establishing business relationships with vendors, net-30 credit accounts get reported to the major business credit bureaus (Dun & Bradstreet, Experian Business, and Equifax Business Credit). This is how businesses build business credit so they can qualify for credit cards and other lines of credit.

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Recommended: Read our guide on the best net-30 vendors so you can start building business credit now, so you never have to worry about cash flow in the future. Keep in mind that poor cash flow is the #1 reason businesses fail!

Get a business credit card

  • This helps you separate personal and business expenses by putting your business' expenses all in one place.
  • It also builds your company's credit history, which can be useful to raise money and investment later on.

STEP 5: Set up business accounting

Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business. Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing.

STEP 6: Obtain necessary permits and licenses

Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.

STEP 7: Get business insurance

Just as with licenses and permits, your business needs insurance in order to operate safely and lawfully. Business Insurance protects your company’s financial wellbeing in the event of a covered loss.

There are several types of insurance policies created for different types of businesses with different risks. If you’re unsure of the types of risks that your business may face, begin with General Liability Insurance. This is the most common coverage that small businesses need, so it’s a great place to start for your business.

Learn more about General Liability Insurance.

Another notable insurance policy that many businesses need is Workers’ Compensation Insurance. If your business will have employees, it’s a good chance that your state will require you to carry Workers' Compensation Coverage.

STEP 8: Define your brand

Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.

If you aren't feeling confident about designing your small business logo, then check out our Design Guides for Beginners, we'll give you helpful tips and advice for creating the best unique logo for your business.
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Recommended: Get a logo using Truic's free logo Generator no email or sign up required, or use a Premium Logo Maker.

How to promote & market an Indian Grocery Store

Promoting an Indian grocery store starts with offering high-quality products that help to encourage people to come in. At the same time, there may be a need to showcase the offerings within the community through sales and outreach programs. Do not forget about online promotion and branding, especially in situations where the locals may not have a lot of experience shopping at Indian grocers. This is a good way to educate the public on offerings but also to encourage them to try to learn to cook.

How to keep customers coming back

Attracting customers means spending time on advertising and building local relationships. In addition to this, providing an outstanding level of service and good quality products on a consistent basis will keep people coming into the business time and time again. Over time, an Indian grocery store can thrive through word-of-mouth advertising. Additionally, social media and digital marketing strategies can help any business grow.

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Still unsure about what kind of business you want to start? Check out the latest Small Business Trends to help inspire you.

STEP 9: Create your business website

After defining your brand and creating your logo the next step is to create a website for your business.

While creating a website is an essential step, some may fear that it’s out of their reach because they don’t have any website-building experience. While this may have been a reasonable fear back in 2015, web technology has seen huge advancements in the past few years that makes the lives of small business owners much simpler.

Here are the main reasons why you shouldn’t delay building your website:

  • All legitimate businesses have websites - full stop. The size or industry of your business does not matter when it comes to getting your business online.
  • Social media accounts like Facebook pages or LinkedIn business profiles are not a replacement for a business website that you own.
  • Website builder tools like the GoDaddy Website Builder have made creating a basic website extremely simple. You don’t need to hire a web developer or designer to create a website that you can be proud of.

Using our website building guides, the process will be simple and painless and shouldn’t take you any longer than 2-3 hours to complete.

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Recommended: Get started today using our recommended website builder or check out our review of the Best Website Builders.

Other popular website builders are: WordPress, WIX, Weebly, Squarespace, and Shopify.

STEP 10: Set up your business phone system

Getting a phone set up for your business is one of the best ways to help keep your personal life and business life separate and private. That’s not the only benefit; it also helps you make your business more automated, gives your business legitimacy, and makes it easier for potential customers to find and contact you.

There are many services available to entrepreneurs who want to set up a business phone system. We’ve reviewed the top companies and rated them based on price, features, and ease of use.

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Recommended: Find the best phone system for your business; check out our review of the Best Business Phone Systems 2021.

Start An Indian Grocery Store In Your State

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Select your state below for an in-depth guide on completing each of these steps in your home state.

Is this Business Right For You?

To thrive in an Indian grocery store business, it is critical to have a solid understanding of both Indian food and culture. Customers who shop here may have generations of Indian heritage and expect to find outstanding quality and a variety of authentic Indian foods available to them. In addition to this, those who work in this business should be familiar with Indian culture and be able to satisfy the needs of their target customers.

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Want to know if you are cut out to be an entrepreneur?

Take our Entrepreneurship Quiz to find out!

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What happens during a typical day at an Indian Grocery Store?

As a grocery store owner, you will spend most of your time working with customers. That may include stocking shelves with products, aiding customers to find what they need, and processing sales. Some grocers have food prep in their stores, which may mean there is a lot of work involved in preparing these foods for local carry-out or in-store purchase. Most often, there is clean up and maintenance, product ordering, and customer service to provide daily.

What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful Indian Grocery Store?

To own an Indian grocery store, individuals need to have a solid understanding of the culture's food. That means not just understanding local ingredients and Americanized versions but having a solid grasp on authentic foods and hard-to-find ingredients. In addition to this, it is always important to have a strong customer service background and the ability to negotiate good prices for products coming into your location.

What is the growth potential for an Indian Grocery Store?

As more people seek out authentic foods and a wide range of new products for meals, there is more growth potential possible in this industry. People are often seeking foods and spices to make authentic dishes at home.

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Take the Next Step

Find a business mentor

One of the greatest resources an entrepreneur can have is quality mentorship. As you start planning your business, connect with a free business resource near you to get the help you need.

Having a support network in place to turn to during tough times is a major factor of success for new business owners.

Learn from other business owners

Want to learn more about starting a business from entrepreneurs themselves? Visit Startup Savant’s startup founder series to gain entrepreneurial insights, lessons, and advice from founders themselves.

Resources to Help Women in Business

There are many resources out there specifically for women entrepreneurs. We’ve gathered necessary and useful information to help you succeed both professionally and personally:

  • Funding
  • Events
  • Guides
  • Support

If you’re a woman looking for some guidance in entrepreneurship, check out this great new series Women in Business created by the women of our partner Startup Savant.

What are some insider tips for jump starting an Indian Grocery Store?

Immerse yourself in the industry for some time. Learn to cook authentically. Invest in time spent in Indian culture as well. This helps a business owner to have the skills necessary to sell to customers who already know the industry and culture well.

How and when to build a team

Most grocery stores are larger and need a team of people from the start. It may be possible to open a small Indian grocery store with just a few people to help you, but over time, you may need to add staff as more customers come in, your product grows, and your business expands. Building a team that is just as diverse and understanding of Indian culture can also be valuable

Next Steps

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