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Severely Specialized Store

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"Spatula City! We Sell Spatulas... And That's All!"

Scorpio: There's the Hammock Hut, that's on Third.
Homer: Uh-huh.
Scorpio: There's Hammocks-R-Us, that's on Third too. You got Put-Your-Butt-There.
Homer: Mm-Hmm.
Scorpio: That's on Third. Swing Low, Sweet Chariot... Matter of fact, they're all in the same complex; it's the hammock complex on Third.
Homer: Oh, the hammock district!
The Simpsons, "You Only Move Twice"

A Severely Specialized Store is a retail outlet that only deals with an incredibly narrow product range, typically one or two items of a very specific type. As this trope is almost always invoked due to Rule of Funny, the store's products will be exactly what the characters need in their moment of crisis (unless it's closed when they get there). How such a business manages to stay in operation, or why the character can't just go to a general-purpose merchant, is never raised.

In fantasy stories, the extremely specialized store might be a fun way to highlight how different the fictional world is. A wizarding world might have wand stores or an Evil Chancellor world might have monocle shops.

An infrequent variation is the inverse of this trope — a store that sells everything except for one thing, typically what the protagonists need to solve the current crisis.

Also see Crippling Overspecialization, The Magazine Rule. Contrast We Sell Everything and Wrong Restaurant.


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    Comic Books 
  • In "Ultimate Hangout", a licensed comic of The Loud House, Luan goes to a store that sells only cats and hats to buy a new hat for her ventriloquist's dummy Mr. Coconuts.
  • Discussed by Silly Seal in Ziggy Pig - Silly Seal Comics when he asks Doctor Doom where he got his royal throne.
    "Where do you even get a throne like that? Thrones 'R' Us? International House of Thrones? Throne Hut?"

    Fan Works 
  • Elementals of Harmony: "Even on the Battlefield" mentions such a store, derived from the canon "Quills and Sofas" proprietor, a sister who sells bandages, among other things:
    Davenport or his sister Boxspring, owner of Mattresses and Medical Supplies

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Not a store, but Number Two's listing of the evil organization's corporate holdings in the first Austin Powers movie include a factory in Chicago that produces nothing but scale models of factories.
  • Freaked has the massive conglomerate Everything Except Shoes. The Big Bad eventually mutates the CEO into a massive tennis shoe just to screw with him.
  • Played with in Hell or High Water, where Hamilton and Parker eat at a restaurant with a very limited selection:
    Waitress: I've been working here for 44 years. Ain't nobody ever ordered nothing but T-Bone steak and a baked potato. Except this one asshole from New York tried to order trout back in 1987. We don't sell no goddamned trout. T-bone steaks. So either you don't want the corn on the cob, or you don't want the green beans. So what don't you want?
  • In Sharknado: The 4th Awakens, Fin comes across (what else?) a chainsaw store.
  • The mall features in Tim & Eric's Billion Dollar Movie is packed with these, including "Reggie's Used Toilet Paper Discount Warehouse".
  • UHF features a commercial for "Spatula City." It sells spatulas "And that's all!"

  • Andy Griffiths' Just Series: In the "Just Stupid" story "Busting", Andy wonders why there's a store in the mall that sells nothing but cat-shaped ornaments.
  • The Berenstain Bears: One book features the "Honey Store".
  • Inverted in Captain Underpants and the Wrath of the Wicked Wedgie Woman: To help Captain Underpants regain his powers, George and Harold need to get some fabric softener to counteract the spray starch that removed them. They run to a new store that opened nearby, which turns out to be "Everything Except Fabric Softener."
    The store for all your non-fabric-softening needs!
  • In Chimneyless at Christmas, the protagonist is worried that Santa Claus will not be able to get into her house since she has no chimney, and wonders if there's a "chimney shop" she can buy one from.
  • The Discworld novel Going Postal has Dave's Pin Exchange, which sells only pins (pin collecting serving as a parody of stamp collecting), with the owner being very adamant that he doesn't sell nails. However it's later expanded to Dave's Pin and Stamp Exchange, and by Snuff is Dave's Pin, Stamp and Smell Exchange. (Don't ask.)
  • Harry Potter:
    • Wandmakers, like Mr. Ollivander, sell wands and nothing else. Justified as each wand must fit its owner, much like a shoe or clothing store. Wands are also major purchases, as a wand does not appear to ever 'wear out' (except for wands that have unicorn hair cores, which would need to be replaced after a decade or so of magic using - like Ron Weasley's original wand, which was a hand-me-down), and since they are central to a wizard's power, it is worth buying the highest quality you can afford. A wand store is basically a place that sells a product that must fit like a suit and and important as a home.
    • A great deal of the Wizarding shops seem to be this way, some more justified than others. Potage's Cauldron Shop sells nothing but cauldrons, and Scrivenshaft's is a borderline example, selling almost nothing but quills. (Arguably Scrivenshaft's is no odder than stores that only sell fountain pens, and they exist in Real Life.)
  • Douglas Adams' nonfiction book Last Chance To See recounts his befuddled trip through several of these.
  • Legends & Lattes: At opening, the titular shop sells coffee in two varieties (with or without milk), and nothing else. Once Viv hires a baker, they begin steadily expanding the menu with cinnamon rolls and other pastries, but the drinks menu remains sparse until Viv acquires a supply of ice to add cold coffees as an option. Since almost no one in the city of Thune has heard of coffee before, there isn't any demand for more specialized varieties Viv doesn't have experience with.
  • This is a recurring joke in some of Robert Munsch's children's books.
    • Zoom! starts with visiting a wheelchair store (which is treated as if it were a car dealership).
    • Smelly Socks includes a trip to the city's socks store, which is so large it can be seen from the river.
  • One job undertaken by the Myth Adventures crew required them, as a cover operation, to open a boutique that sold nothing but garters. Granted, they were enchanted garters with special perks, e.g. serving as a Bag of Holding.
  • Similar to the "only a single pair of pants for sale" example below, in a Petit Nicolas story one of the kids brings a printing kit to school, and the gang decide to use it to "make a newspaper". After discussing what they want to put in the paper, they start discussing selling it. Alceste believes he can just stand on the street and yell "Extra! Extra! Read All About It!!" and then "everybody would buy", which brings up the fact that even when they're done with the writing and the printing, they still only have one copy.
  • In A Pipkin of Pepper for the Pumpkin Soup, there is a "salt shop" and a "pepper shop".

    Live-Action TV 
  • A variation appears in a skit from All That, with a retail store that sells only a single pair of pants (not just many of the same style, one single item). One of the employees naturally finds the whole operation insane, quits, then comes back to buy the pants himself, thus rendering his former coworkers' jobs completely pointless.
  • The Amanda Show had several sketches centered around a family that commits this trope. They've made stores that only sold Beef Jerky, Soup and a lot more. Even the spoof of the teen soap genre "Moody's Point" had the titular Character that ONLY sold beeper polish. Another recurring segment literally had a store that sold live people!
  • A magic-themed sketch on The Bozo Show saw a trick go wrong when the dove involved in it flew away. Rusty, as Bozo's assistant, wondered where he was going to get another one. "Doves 'R' Us," Bozo suggested.
  • In an episode of Cheers, a party that Rebecca is throwing for a retired executive is sputtering to a halt, and she is desperate to liven things up. Sam suggests a wet T-shirt contest. Rebecca snorts that you can't just whip up a wet T-shirt contest on demand. Sam responds that yes you can, and he gives her a business card that just happened to be behind the bar.
    Rebecca: Hello, is this Jiggly Party Queens?
  • Incredible Crew has the Shorts and Spoons Superstore which sells only shorts and spoons ("No pants! No forks! And you have to buy one of each!")
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus: In "The Cycling Tour". Mr. Pither keeps catching his pump in his trouser leg and crashing. At a small village:
    Pither: Excuse me, madam, can you tell me of a good bicycle shop in this village, where I could find either some means of adapting my present pump, or, failing that, purchase a replacement?
    Old lady: There's only one shop here. (points to a shop with large signs reading: 'BICYCLE PUMP CENTRE. SPECIALISTS IN SHORTER BICYCLE PUMPS', 'SHORT PUMPS AVAILABLE HERE', and 'WE SHORTEN PUMPS WHILE-U-WAIT'."
  • Earlier seasons of MythBusters frequently featured the show's presenters visiting specialist stores in the San Francisco area. Perhaps most notably, The Bone Room selling animal and human bones and skulls.
  • In an episode of Northern Exposure, Shelly is interested in going to the Mall of America; she mentions that they have a whole store that's just socks. (This is true in Real Life. It's called "Just Socks.")
  • Odd Squad: In "Odd Squad in the Shadows", the Squad mistakes Mr. Sides for a supervillain. However, when they visit him, they discover he is actually a local businessman who runs a restaurant that serves nothing but side dishes. He later admits "this was a terrible business model".
  • Pixelface has an episode where the other characters enter Clairparker's game to do some shopping at the mall. Riley and Romford are looking for sausages and a remote control, respectively. They find everything they are after at a store called 'Sausages n' Remote Controls'.
  • Parodied on Portlandia with the "Two Girls, Two Shirts" shop, whose entire inventory consists of two shirts.
  • Among the many strange prizes to be on The Red Green Show's "Possum Lodge Word Game", there was once a coupon for "Tinsel Town: the only store that sells only tinsel all year round."
  • On Roundhouse, two Amazingly Embarrassing Parents look for envelopes at the mall. The map indicates a store named "Gee, I Can't Believe There's a Store in This Mall That Sells Nothing But Envelopes, Can You?"
  • Saturday Night Live
    • On early episodes, there was a series of sketches detailing "The Scotch Boutique", which sold nothing but varieties of Scotch Tape. Apparently, while somewhat of a failure when the store first opened, it apparently started doing major business when a new shopping mall opened up, and all the other local stores needed the tape to hang up their "Out Of Business" signs.
    • Another sketch had Patrick Stewart running an erotic bakery that only made cakes of women peeing on things.
    • "The Change Bank. We make change. That's all we do."
    • "Welcome to Everything Scottish, where if it's not Scottish, it's CRAP!"

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Madam & Eve has a restaurant that only serves Mielies (ears of corn).
  • A Zits Sunday strip features an establishing panel of the inside of the local mall; stores named Just Burlap, Wineglasses in an Hour (a parody of Glasses in an Hour), and Things That Start with Q can be seen in the background.


    Stand-Up Comedy 
  • Paul F. Tompkins had a bit on how confused and amused he was to spot a store called "Elegant Balloons" in a mall, when a store that sold only balloons is already niche enough as it stands, leading to the hypothetical exchange that has to take place frequently enough for such a store to exist:
    Customer: *haughty* "Yes, hello. I am hosting a a very important party at my mansion this evening. I'll be entertaining some foreign dignitaries, heads of state and the like... Couple of kings, maybe a duke or two; we'll see who shows up. Anyway, I wanted to spruce the place up a little bit, so tell me: what do you have in the way of balloons?"
    Balloon Store Employee: "Well, sir, we have this model, which is red, as you see, and... We've also got a new line of mylar that just came—"
    Customer: "Oh, my God! Those balloons are gauche! I'm not hosting a free-for-all, for a bunch of hill people who are going to eat off the floor with their hands! WHERE ARE YOUR ELEGANT BALLOONS?"

    Video Games 
  • ANNO: Mutationem: Throughout the cities there are chip shops that specializes in selling only enhancements chips that are for boosting abilities when equipped to Socketed Equipment.
  • The Burnable Garbage Day has the Mysterious Vending Machine that sells only one thing: Batteries. However, in the Endgame+, it also has a chance to sell one of the four parts needed for the Golden Ending.
  • In Death Road to Canada, one store you can encounter during an Always Be Looting event is a store that sells umbrellas. Just umbrellas. There's also the Toilet Emporium.
  • In Double Homework, the boutique that Tamara opens after she graduates sells only black clothes. Lampshaded in its name: "Nothing But Black."
  • Taken to its logical conclusion in Dragon Age: Inquisition, where one of the stores in Orlais has exactly one item available for purchase, and you aren't even told what it is until you purchase it for a price tag of 10,000 royals. Apparently the shopkeeper's business model is based on people offering him tribute in hopes that he will lower the price. It is a golden nug statue, which you use to lure giant nugs you can ride around.
  • Generally in weapons stores in the Final Fantasy games, you find a selection of weapons for all of your characters, typically one or two of each type. In Rocket Town, however in Final Fantasy VII, there's a merchant who comments "A gun is a MAN'S weapon! Ain't nuthin' else'll do!" and will only sell you one weapon, a Shotgun for Vincent Valentine. The rest of his inventory is armor. On the second and third discs, he doesn't even sell this, just S-Mines that you can use as attack items and the selection of armor.
  • In the fourth Freddi Fish game, there's a shop called Just Buckles, which, yes, only sells belt buckles. In the same game, Gill Barker proclaims himself the area's greatest purveyor of wheel nuts and bubble gum, which are indeed the only two things he sells. Naturally, Freddi needs to pick up a belt buckle, a wheel nut, and a pack of bubble gum in order to finish the game. A similar case occurs with the assorted shops in the fifth game; the final two games in the series were big on only providing Freddi with exactly what she needs for the story.
  • Kingdom of Loathing had a couple of limited-time-only examples. The Traveling Trader only ever sold one item at a time (except for his first appearance, when he had a whole three different products), and unlike all other stores, he only accepted "Twinkly Wads" as currency. The Bookmobile was a straighter example, as he claimed to possess "a lot of wonderful books" but all he actually had for sale was thousands of copies of "Eldritch Intellect: Journey into a Mind of Horror".
  • In The Legend of Zelda series, stores that sell more than three or four items are a rarity (and most stores have at least one exclusive item). Parodied on Cracked with a photomanipulation of a Real Life storefront: "I Sell Three Things (And That's It)". Ads for Products That Must Exist in Video Games
  • Pokémon:
    • The first Pokémart you find in the second and third-generation games carries only regular Pokéballs, regular Potions, and three types of status-effect healers, despite appearing to have many shelves of merchandise. The first Mart in Gen 1 doesn't even have Potions. Every game also has a massive department store that's the exact opposite of this trope. Later games justify it by having each Pokémart's available stock be dependent on how many badges the player has.
    • Pokémon X and Y has the Poké Ball Boutique, which sells every variety of Pokéball but nothing else, and the Stone Emporium, which sells evolution stones. Also, the first fashion boutique that the player encounters (in Santalune City) sells only hats and hat accessories, and no other clothes like the other five.
  • Sylvia runs a shop where she sells only potions in Potionomics, and nothing else.
  • Sunset Overdrive: Smartphone #29 is an emailed invoice from "Hinden's Dirigibles & Weaponry, Inc.", which sells:
    75 ft. custom Fizzie Blimp - $15,900.00
    Deployable RPG Cradle - $237,000,000.00
    Experimental Atomic Laser Inducers - $796,000,000.00
    Service with a Smile - $0.00

    Web Animation 
  • Though not given any particular focus, Teen Girl Squad has Manolios Ugly One, who likes to advertise his store which specializes only in selling used and broken electronics such as a broken VCR and smashed tape.

    Web Comics 
  • This is a recurring gag in Axe Cop. Need an awesome ramp to drive to the moon? Go to the awesome ramp store. Unicorn horn? Can be found at the unicorn horn store.
  • mezzacotta: In Comments on a Postcard comic #5006, the author recounts going into a beachside store called Cecil's. The only items the store had in stock were art supplies and batteries.
    Nobody on the boardwalk needs batteries and art supplies. Cecil really needs to get his priorities in order.
  • In The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob! Generictown has "Queenie's Pawn Shop," which literally sells chess pawns. A sign reads, "We also have checkers! Black and red! Buy a checker today!"
  • In Matchu, after Chu suggests getting a catapult, Wheezy sarcastically suggests going to the Catapult Store to get one. Turns out there really IS a Catapult Store.
  • One Giant Hand: McMurtry's Beanie, Eye Mask, Striped Shirt & Sack Store only sells Blatant Burglar items but only one of each. McMurtry ends up going out of business when he gets robbed.
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • The Polearm Shop. More general armories are also shown, but one strip has Roy go to a Polearm Shop. It's a reference to the "Cheese Shop" sketch, so not only is the shop overspecialized, it doesn't actually have any polearms at the moment. Fortunately for the shop owner, Roy doesn't have a weapon with which to kill him with for wasting his time like in the original sketch.
    • One brief establishing shot in a gnome city shows the huge store "Hats and MORE!" and next to it, the much smaller "Just Hats."

    Web Original 
  • Drawception: This game features a store that appears to sell only knives, called "Knives R Us".
  • One of the Kid History "Kid Snippets" videos takes place at the "Hot Dog Bun Store". Hot dogs sold elsewhere.

    Web Videos 
  • An entire joke in an episode of Code MENT (which ended up spreading as a meme) is this. When Lelouch calls Suzaku for help, the latter tells him that he's shopping for clothes but can't find any. It eventually turns out that Suzaku's at the soup store.
    Lelouch: Why are you buying clothes at the soup store?!
    Suzaku: Fuck you!
  • Game Grumps: Lampshaded in the first episode of their playthrough of The Dog Island.
    Dan: And a milk store? In this economy?
  • In Season 6 on Hermitcraft, Zedaph opens up a shop called "Warts, Quartz and Shorts", which exclusively sells netherwart, quartz blocks, and colorful pants. And yes, he did pick those items purely for the sake of the name, there is no in-game reason to sell these things together.
  • Ryan George has the recurring "Sandwich with a Pretty Big Pickle in it" fast food chain, which sells moderately large pickles in hot dog buns. They also offer a kid's meal, which is the same sandwich cut in half.

    Western Animation 
  • The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius:
    • The series premier has Jimmy bringing his pants to life, which goes to the "House of Blue Pants" to create more of its kind. Jimmy counters by using rugs he got from "Rug World" to generate static electricity. While looking for it, he sees other stores called "Cheese World" and "Mime World",
    • One of the hour-long specials showed that Retroville has a store called "Ventriloquist Dummies R Us."
    • One episode had "Lucky Tony's House of Garlic" as Jimmy was being chased by two vampires (which was right across the street from House of Blue Pants). Later when he is chased by two werewolves he comes across the "Hi Ho Silver Store".
  • Aqua Teen Hunger Force: In "Get Lit Upon a Situpon", after being told the planet will be destroyed by a earthquake and only syrup will protect him, Frylock heads to a "Syruporium" store to stock up, only to discover all the syrup has been purchased by others who were told about the coming earthquake.
  • Big City Greens: In "Green Christmas", there's the Big City Dodgeball Emporium that sells only dodgeballs.
  • Bob's Burgers: The Store Next Door in the opening sequence that changes with every episode tends to be comically specialized (such as "Talk To The Hand Glove Store" or "Betty's Machetes").
  • In BoJack Horseman, resident Cloud Cuckoolander pair Todd and Mr. Peanutbutter open a store called "Halloween in January". It's a Halloween store that's only open in January.
  • Cleopatra of Clone High purchases her lip balm exclusively from the Lip Balm Shelter.
  • DuckTales (2017): In "Let's Get Dangerous", St. Canard apparently has an "abandoned toy warehouse district".
    Wanda: There's an entire district for that?
  • One episode of The Fairly OddParents! had a store called "TV's R Us".
  • Family Guy: The episode "Pawtucket Pat", which involves a mob of angry white men protesting the removal of a statue, features a store that sells only tiki torches and New Balance shoes (both of which have been co-opted as symbols of the alt-right movement). When the owner sees the mob, he switches the sign on the door from "Closed forever" to "Open for one more day".
  • Green Eggs and Ham (2019) briefly features Lem's Kites, Snorkels and Pole-Vault Poles, which sells exactly that and no more. It is, we are informed, "Plummeting out of business".
  • One episode of The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy shows a store at the mall called Sock Barn, which sells only socks. The characters were there because Billy eats socks.
  • Hey Arnold!: Helga's father owns a store franchise specializing in pagers/beeper, called "Big Bob's Beepers", a questionable idea in 1996 which Comic-Book Time made ridiculous even when the original run ended in 2001. In the episode where Bob's wife Miriam temporarily runs the business, it seems to be a more generalized electronics outlet, even saying its full name was "Big Bob's Beepers and Cellphones". Conversely, The Jungle Movie explicitly shows Bob only sells beepers even in 2017 because he's just that out-of-touch.
  • In an episode of The Loud House, Luan goes to a store that sells only cats and hats to buy a new hat for her ventriloquist's dummy Mr. Coconuts.
  • In Megas XLR, Coop or the Monster of the Week often demolish bizarrely (and hilariously) specialized buildings during the fight. The implication generally being that they're unneeded and thus conveniently empty.
  • Mighty Magiswords features a Popcorn Store, a Evil Toupee Store, several broccoli stands (some right next to each other) and, of course, the Magisword store.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic
    • In "Owl's Well That Ends Well", Spike needs to get a quill for Twilight Sparkle. So of course, he goes to Quills and Sofas ... which just so happens to be out of the former.
      Spike: But the store is called Quills and Sofas! You only sell two things!
      Davenport: Sorry, junior. All outta quills 'til Monday. (Beat) Need a sofa?
    • In "Canterlot Boutique", Sassy Saddles turns Rarity's new boutique into this when she has Rarity, a skilled and inventive dressmaker, mass-produce two hundred copies of the same dress, which she markets and sells at the exclusion of all other designs.
  • The Owl House: A stall near Eda's is "Just Skulls 2", for buying, trading, and selling skulls.
  • Peg + Cat: "The Long Line Problem" features Richard wanting to buy a new toy from the "Yellow Store", which sells only yellow products.
  • The Interdimensional Cable episodes of Rick and Morty feature an ad "Real Fake Doors" (which only sells fake doors that won't open). There's also the Jerry Daycare, a daycare center for the explicit purpose of being a place where different versions of Rick can leave their Jerrys if he happens to come along on an adventure.
  • Rocko's Modern Life: In "Who Gives a Buck?", the O-Town Mall has stores that consist entirely hyper-specialized stores, one of which is "Just Dog Bowls," where Rocko buys Spunky a new dog bowl.
  • Rugrats (1991): "Chuckie's a Lefty" features a store called "Not Quite Right" that sells only left-handed products.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Ned Flanders owns a "Leftorium" store for left-handed products. It was initially a bust, until Homer started feeling bad for enjoying Flanders' misfortune and scrounged up as many left-handed customers as he could.
    • In "Blood Feud," there is a store called "Sweet Home Alabama" that just sells things from Alabama.
    • When Homer wants to buy a hammock in Cypress Creek in "You Only Move Twice," his boss mentions there's an entire hammock district downtown.
    • "The Joy of Sect" shows Springfield Airport has "Just Crichton and King Bookstore", a parody of small bookstores overstocking on only the most popular authors, especially those found in airports. The cashier will not entertain a request for Robert Ludlum.
  • This was a common gag on Tom Goes to the Mayor
    • Tom once opened a store called "Big Cups", which only sold big cups.
    • One episode featured two bear trap stores next door to each other, owned by rival twin brothers, both played by Jack Black.
  • T.U.F.F. Puppy Has quite a few of these such as Carpet World, Lamp Chops, Twigs & Things etc.
  • We Bare Bears: In "Losing Ice", Darrel works at a store that only sells mousepads.
  • The WordGirl episode "Kid Math" features the Ray Amplifier Emporium, where Dr. Two-Brains gets, you guessed it, an amplifier for his latest ray. It's later revealed that the store also merged with the Giant Cage Outlet. One guess what that one sells.

    Real Life 
  • Along some highways in rural parts of Virginia, you can find stores selling cigarettes, hams, pecans, and fireworks. Almost without fail, the store will advertise that it sells at least three of these four things.
  • In New York, there is a store called "Just Bulbs." They sell nothing but lightbulbs.
  • The Mall of America has a store called "Just Socks," which sells nothing but socks.
  • Batteries Plus, which does have an enormous variety of the item.
  • Flower companies, whether big and catering only to large orders, or small operations.
  • Hat shops are places to buy and replace hats. A more specialized hat shop that mainly sells hats for women is called a millinery.
  • In the US there are two stores dedicated to only Halloween merchandise that open for business around mid-August and then close after the first week of November. Those two stores are Halloween City and Spirit Halloween. They sell costumes, decorations, candy, and anything else for Halloween but they are the only example of a national chain specialized to a holiday season.
    • Spirit Halloween in particular is almost never in the same location twice in a town as they will rent whatever empty storefront of the appropriate size is available that year.
  • Many UK airports and larger railway stations have shops like Tie Rack and Sock Shop, presumably selling to people who suddenly remember they haven't packed properly.

  • It's not uncommon to see someone open one of these in a large town or small city that really can't support it. Does your town have that one storefront that nobody ever seems to stay in for more than three years? This may be at play. Some shops may work fine in one place (like a chocolate shop in a city) but turn out to be far too narrowly focused when transplanted to a more sparsely populated area. If you can draw in customers from other towns, you may be able to stay afloat. And even if the area can support one such shop, if someone else inspired by your success tries to start up one of the same in a nearby town then there will likely be trouble for one or both of you. The same if you expand and find out the market isn't there for a second shop.
  • An unintentional example, related in Michael Binyon's book about ordinary people and life in the Soviet Union, Life in Russia, was of a local store that sold absolutely nothing but zinc buckets, due to the fact that they ordered stuff from the nearest factory and that's all it ever made in order to fulfill its quota.
  • There is, or at least used to be, a shop in Beijing, China, that sold ferrets. Just ferrets!
  • Mattress stores tend to specialize specifically in, you guessed it, mattresses. Some of them also sell things that go with mattresses, like pillows and sheets, but good luck finding anything that isn't bed-related there. If you're wondering how they can possibly stay in business, the answer is hotel and motel chains, who buy the things in bulk so they can replace rather than clean them.
  • Many tourist areas will have stores that sell nothing but refrigerator magnets, with a large portion of their stock themed for the specific nearby tourist attraction — the San Francisco wharf, the Las Vegas Strip, the Statue of Liberty...
  • A Seattle store called "The Purple Store" plays with this trope. It sells a variety of things, including clothing, office supplies and home decorations; it's just all colored purple.
  • Restaurants are one business where oddly small menus are plausible, due to the relative ease of access into the market (especially if franchising for a chain) and a general observation in the business that one is better off excelling in a few dishes rather than trying to be mediocre in a lot of them due to compounding logistical pressures and having less practice in any individual item. Still, some restaurants can take it to the extreme;
    • A restaurant chain, Raising Cane's, specializes in chicken fingers. That is, besides beverages, its menu consists of a single entree (chicken fingers), three sides (coleslaw, french fries, Texas toast), and the signature dipping sauce. Everything else on the menu is a combination of the above five items. You can order a chicken sandwich—three fingers on a Kaiser roll.
    • Wingstop offers a similarly-barren menu: three sides, a few soft drinks, and a small range of sauces to go with your wings.
    • West coast chain In-N-Out Burger is famous for its equally bare menu: It has three burgers (that vary only by the number of beef patties and slices of cheese), french fries, milkshakes, and soft drinks. Downplayed in that the menu is not actually that small—that is the entirety of its public menu, but it has a "secret menu", though they are all still variants of their burgers and fries.
    • Chick Fil-A only sells chicken sandwiches, but they did expand in recent years to also offer chicken nuggets.
    • Auntie Anne's only sells pretzels, a variety of about ten types of pretzel in fact. Even other items they sell are still variants of pretzels including pretzel nuggets and the Pretzel Dog, a hot dog with a pretzel wrapping. They are also most commonly found in malls and airports but also in college student unions.
    • Western Massachusetts has several locations of Dave's Soda and Pet Food City, stores that sell just that bizarre combination.
    • Yang's Braised Chicken Rice is perhaps the international restaurant chain with the narrowest menu: Besides beverages, all they sell is one kind of braised chicken bowl in one size. You can make it spicier on request, but that's it.
    • Like In-N-Out Burger mentioned above, Five Guys sells five things, and five things only: burgers, hot dogs, fries, milkshakes, and soda. There are variations, of course (their "grilled cheese" is cheese in an inverted bun, grilled-crispy on their flat-top grills, their "veggie sandwich" is every single vegetable they have, plus grilled mushrooms, stacked onto a bun, etc.), but everything they sell is either one of those five things or a variation thereof. They also serve (but don't sell) salted peanuts, free in open containers.
    • High-end restaurant Le Relais de Venise — locations in Paris, New York, and London — serves hangar steak. And nothing else.** 
    • A Manhattan dessert shop called Rice to Riches sells various flavors of rice pudding, with toppings.
    • Cinnabon, a chain of stores that sell only cinnamon buns (of a handful of types and sizes), most commonly found in malls and airports. The buns are just that good.