Running a small business can be profitable, if you can keep your overhead low.
I am typing this from the Mt. Wellington Market near Cooperstown, New York, home of the Glimmerglass Opera. We stopped by here last night and saw Medea on a whim (reminded me too much of Mother and her knife play, frankly. Thank God she never saw this opera!
The market here is a nice operation - they have free WiFi (natch) and good coffee, local beers, and something called a doughnut sandwich, which sounds gross, but isn't all that bad.
What makes a small business like this work is that the proprietors live above the store, the way people did back in the 1800's and even into the 1900's. With low personal overhead, you can run an operation like this, which is largely seasonal, and make money. If you try to own a "look at me!" house AND pay rent on store space, you'll go bankrupt.
And this seems to be a growing trend in this country, particularly the way the economy is trending. Paying money for buildings that are empty most of the time, so you can say you have a "workplace" makes little or no sense. Home offices are becoming not only commonplace, but the norm.
Or, in my case, the RV Office, as I can open up shop anywhere my battered Dell Laptop takes me. Going Mobile, so to speak.....