Find your niche

small town usa id sewing
Founder Gail Williams (right) with son and COO Gunther Williams
  • Business: Idaho Sewing For Sports
  • Location: Grangeville, Idaho

Even niche businesses can be profitable. Just ask Gail Williams.

Nearly forty years ago, Williams moved to Idaho with her husband, three sons, $2,000 and "an old dilapidated truck."

To help support her family, Williams began sewing seat pads for ski chairlifts on a leased sewing machine.

Today, her company Idaho Sewing For Sports manufactures everything from pole vault pits to gymnasium wall padding (and even made the pads for the 2002 Olympics speed skating events).

During their busy season (the last four months of the year), Williams said she'd "get up at 2 a.m. and pick up the loose ends."

This inspired her to find solutions that improved the business' productivity: Williams decided to set up pre-orders in June (for a 10% discount) so they could get ahead of the demand.

Williams is now retired, but her son Gunther runs the business.

First published August 29, 2014: 8:59 AM ET