8 Great Small Businesses from TV Land

We’ve already tipped our cap to some of the brilliant entrepreneurs of the big screen. Television has created some memorable small businesses over the years, too. Some of them might not make recommended models for your business, but they should at least be good for a laugh (or cry).

Bluth Banana Stand

  • Industry: Food
  • Key employees: George Michael Bluth
  • Perks: Bananas, ocean view
  • Occupational hazards: Arson, insurance fraud
  • Business wisdom: “There was money in that banana stand.”
  • Arrested Development

Sanford and Son Salvage

  • Industry: Secondhand goods
  • Key employees: Fred Sanford, Lamont Sanford
  • Perks: Father-son bonding, the thrill of the deal
  • Occupational hazards: Grouchiness, (fake) heart attacks
  • Business wisdom: “Well, pretty soon you won’t have to deal with me anymore… and it won’t be Sanford and Son anymore, it’ll be Big Dummy and Little Dummy, Inc!”
  • Sanford and Son

The Android’s Dungeon & Baseball Card Shop

  • Industry: Collectibles
  • Key employees: Comic Book Guy
  • Perks: Unchecked power, following your passion
  • Occupational hazards: Weight gain, cynicism
  • Business wisdom: “I must get back to my comic book store, where I dispense the insults rather than receive them.”
  • The Simpsons

Cheers

  • Industry: Beverage
  • Key employees: Sam Malone, Carla Tortelli, Diane Chambers, Woody Boyd, Coach
  • Perks: Fun atmosphere, everybody knows your name
  • Occupational hazards: Carla’s wrath, liver damage
  • Business wisdom: “Beer? Isn’t that the amber-colored, carbonated liquid? I’ve heard good things about it.”
  • Duh.

Fisher Funeral Home

  • Industry: Undertaking
  • Key employees: Federico Diaz, Nate Fisher, David Fisher
  • Perks: Use of the company hearse, live where you work
  • Occupational hazards: Family dysfunction, the Grim Reaper
  • Business wisdom: “Infinite possibilities and all he can do is whine. You’re alive! What’s a little pain compared to that?”
  • Six Feet Under

The Peach Pit

  • Industry: Food & beverage
  • Key employees: Nat Bussichio, Brandon Walsh
  • Perks: Megaburgers, hot ZIP code
  • Occupational hazards: Melodrama, bad tips
  • Business wisdom: “You’re gonna work off every cent.”
  • Beverly Hills 90210

Gary’s Shoes and Accessories for Today’s Woman

  • Industry: Footwear
  • Key Employee: Al Bundy
  • Perks: Sales commissions, getting out of the house
  • Occupational hazards: Foot fungus, a life of regret
  • Business wisdom: “I work in a shoe store, I make less than minimum wage, and yet I’m not happy to be home.”
  • Married with Children

Kramerica Corp.

  • Industry: Research & development
  • Key Employee: Darren the Intern
  • Perks: Flexible hours, emphasis on innovation
  • Occupational hazards: Erratic management, lack of viable business model
  • Business wisdom: “Now let’s push this giant ball of oil out the window.”
  • Seinfeld

OK, businesspeople — surely we missed some good ones from the storied history of the small screen. What are your favorite businesses from television programs over the years?

About Kevin Casey

Kevin Casey is a regular contributor here, at InformationWeek and elsewhere. Find him on Twitter @kevinrcasey.
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