The silver tsunami and rural small business retention: What can communities do?

Liz Templin, Scott Chazdon, Glenn Muske, Felipe Dyna Barroso, Lillian Osborne, William Craig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Since many rural communities have a disproportionately older population, the “silver tsunami” of retiring baby boomers has fueled interest in small business succession as a business retention strategy. Most business succession research has focused solely on the firm level without addressing community-level aspects. This article emphasizes the importance of community responses by blending findings from a rural small business survey with key informant interviews. Study findings suggest that successful business succession creates an opportunity for business expansion. Of the 118 new owners surveyed, 41% increased employment, 68% increased sales volume, and 68% increased their customer base. Communities reported facilitating business succession by (1) emphasizing the importance of succession planning, (2) reducing financial, time, and confidentiality barriers, and (3) providing accessible resources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)282-298
Number of pages17
JournalCommunity Development
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 15 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Community Development Society.

Copyright 2017 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Baby boomer retirement
  • business retention and expansion
  • community business facilitation
  • rural business
  • small business succession


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