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5 stereotypes of companies that will never go out of business in a military town

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(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Levingston Lewis/Released)

Military bases are usually a hotbed for many businesses that provide viable growth opportunities. However, establishing a business inside the military base would take up much time and lengthy procedures. Aside from that, you would also have to comply with lots of regulations as each branch of the military has different guidelines. Owning a business within a base has its own plethora of red tape. Nevertheless, you can evade such hassle by establishing your businesses off-base within the military towns. Some businesses offer troops better deals and more variety than they would find on-post. Other businesses sustain military families and increase their comfort. Although on-base and off-base businesses thrive, these businesses follow certain stereotypes that make them a safe bet for the budding entrepreneur.

1. Tattoo Parlors

tattoo stereotypes
Sailor being tattooed by fellow sailor aboard USS New Jersey in 1944. (Wikipedia)

Often there is a stereotype that service members should not have tattoos as it hampers their professionalism. As it happens, getting a tattoo is almost a rite of passage for military personnel, especially after missions, to show fraternity or just for fun. The laws support both on-base and off-base tattoo parlors. Nonetheless, on-base parlors have to observe more strict regulations such as The AFI tattoo guidance, especially if they provide services for active, guard and reserve airmen. Additionally, some tattoos can get you a straight-up dishonorable discharge if they belong to hate groups, gangs, or are affiliated with narcotics.

2. ‘Gentlemen’ Clubs

People believe that strip clubs cannot be established near military bases but there’s always one within a zoning loophole. There are not a lot of options for romance on base and they are also a source of entertainment for military personnel. Everyone has a crazy story from when they were active and went to one ‘just once for science.’ Many military bases are surrounded by strip clubs that specifically target their presence. It is common to come by advertisements and posters offering special discounts for those serving in the military. As long as there isn’t some sort of scandal, a gentlemen’s club can stay open for decades.

3. Dry-Cleaning

All military personnel are expected to be tidy, clean and have their uniform ready for inspection. After performing daily duties, uniforms can get tarnished and dirty, needing restoration of their brilliant luster. Dry cleaners are always on stand-by to help the servicemen and their dry-cleaning needs. The businesses cater to fundamental stain removal issues, washing, pressing and folding. 

Dry cleaners are also well-versed in uniform cleaning as they pay special attention to deep cleaning through gentle cycles and high steam presses to enable proper military sleeve creases. As long as there are power-tripping higher-ups forcing troops into alpha inspections, dry cleaners will never close.

cleaners stereotypes
Georgia National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Gail Parnelle.

4. Tailors

Military uniforms are a vital part of service. They promote orderliness, togetherness, discipline and add to the serviceman’s sense of camaraderie. To achieve the set hierarchical standards, uniforms need to be well-tailored and well-fitting. For years, tailors have come to the aid of military personnel to provide them with the proper fit by making common alterations to the uniforms. Tailors have achieved common modifications such as changing satin lapels, shortening or lengthening coats, tapering the legs with two or four seams, ensuring the skirt hem is the required length and lowering collars. Mom and pop tailors also come to the aid of that procrastinating troop that now has a wardrobe emergency. I once had a very mean lady who saved my butt by placing new chevrons at 11 pm. I’ll take a scolding any day than showing up to an inspection ass-backward. I even tipped her.

5. Night Clubs

Life in the military is very different from that of a civilian, particularly because it can be overwhelming. Civilians can easily unwind at any time and day that they wish to. On the other hand, military personnel must wait to get off-duty time and days to relax and enjoy some beats properly. Night clubs allow them to have a break from their daily routines and get them to interact with typical civilians through club activities like happy hour drink specials, trivia contests and karaoke. Some of these interactions have enabled servicemen to have meaningful relationships outside their careers, alongside meeting their spouses while having a good time. Night clubs come and go but if an investor leaves with more than he invested before the club goes out of vogue, it isn’t a loss even if it closes. The names can change but they’ll always be a ‘new’ place blow off some steam out in town.