Wikipedia:Businesses with a single location
This is an essay.
It contains the advice or opinions of one or more Wikipedia contributors. This page is not an encyclopedia article, nor is it one of Wikipedia's policies or guidelines, as it has not been thoroughly vetted by the community. Some essays represent widespread norms; others only represent minority viewpoints.
|This page in a nutshell: Many businesses with a single location already qualify for an article|
On Wikipedia, any subject that meets all inclusion guidelines is likely to merit an article, even if one is yet to be created. This includes many businesses with a single location.
Many small businesses, such as shops, restaurants, clubs, hotels, bed and breakfasts, tourist attractions, apartments, and more have been featured in articles in local newspapers, magazines, or published books about the region. Especially in major metropolitan areas with multiple publications, it is a strong possibility that more than one article about an establishment telling neutral, factual, non-promotional information and spaced over a period of time exist. Even in a small town, some establishments may be among the town's charms that have received coverage.
Wikipedia is not finished. There are many more articles waiting to be created. For those who want to create new articles and are looking for a niche, you could write about businesses in your hometown or a place where you have visited.
To be sure if an a small business qualifies for an article, read the general notability guideline, the notability guidelines for businesses, and especially the sources that are required for local businesses, which stipulates that there must be at least one source from beyond the business's hometown.
What to look for
Certain types of information are among those that are appropriate for any Wikipedia article, including those on small businesses. These include the history of the business, the name(s) of the owner(s), and what the establishment is best known for in the public eye.
A published book about the establishment's town or region whose purpose is just to provide interesting information about the region, and that provides a significant amount of information about the establishment, noting its iconic status can be considered a reliable source.
What not to look for
To be avoided is information that promotes the business, since Wikipedia is not advertising space. Even certain "articles" that appear in newspapers really serve the purpose of promotion, such as restaurant and travel reviews. Information found in directories that are comprehensive listings of businesses in its area and ratings charts should not be used in the article. And of course, advertising for the business, since it is propaganda, should not be used.
An example of an unreliable source that should not be used is a travel guide. A travel guide provides useful information to the traveler about a business being marketed to those outside the region, but in essence is a form of advertising, and therefore is not a reliable source to convey notability or be considered a source outside the immediate area.
Multiple locations within a region
Some businesses have multiple locations but all contained to a single region, and in some cases within the same part of town. These too can qualify for articles if they meet inclusion guidelines. Once again, there must be at least one source from outside the local area for the chain to qualify for an article.
Multiple businesses each with a different name but under common ownership
It is not uncommon for a company to run multiple operations, each with a different name and each operation with a single location. There is a good chance such a company is notable, especially if it operates in multiple cities/towns. If this is the case, it is best to start out by creating an article on the large company itself, and then if there is enough information and sources to create articles on individual locations to create articles on those.
Like for-profit businesses, many non-profits exist that cater to locals only. Likewise, they could qualify for articles under the same guidelines.
Agencies of municipal and other smaller governments (other than national) are very frequently notable if it is customary for that type of agency to have an article. Even when they can be found in just a single location, and even when sources pertaining to them are limited to the region or in some cases to primary sources, they can be worthy of an article. These include police and fire departments, mass transit providers, schools, and libraries, to name a few. As usual, only sourced information can be included in Wikipedia. If only a few lines to a few small paragraphs about the agency can be provided through the sourced information, it should be included in the article on the jurisdiction. If a greater amount of information can be provided that can fill up at least several pages, then it is more practical to write about it in a separate article. In some cases, when there is enough sourced information, there can be multiple articles pertaining to a government agency and its services.
Keeping it neutral
Many articles that appear in local publications on small businesses tend to do one of two things: to promote it or tell of problems the business has. Some articles may have been arranged through connections with a local paper for the purpose of promotion while appearing as a general news article. And if a company has had troubles, unhappy customers may come to the local media, which in turn may report this.
One of Wikipedia's most important guidelines is neutrality. An article on a small business must be completely neutral and tell factual information. It is important to examine the sources used to determine their real purpose when selecting them and determining if they make the business worthy of an article.
Some businesses are only 'notable' because of their notoriety. If this is the case, creating an article on the business that describes all its problems may be a violation of certain guidelines, such as undue weight. If there is a scandal that is associated with the business, and that scandal itself meets Wikipedia's notability guidelines, and the business is otherwise not notable for anything else, the article should be titled according to the scandal rather than the business's own name. This is single to the one event guideline used for biographies of living people. See WP:ILLCON for the related policy.
If an establishment has become notable only because of crime on the premises, articles if worthy should focus only on the crime itself (see in the news because of crime below).
Avoiding conflicts of interest
If you choose to write an article on a small business, it is certain that by now you know of its existence. There is an even better chance that you have had something to do with it already, such as having been a customer, known its owner, or worked there. The closer your connections are, the more care you must take to avoid a conflict of interest.
It is best if the creator be as far removed from it as possible. The best possible creator of an article on a local business is one who knows about it only from media sources and not from personal involvement. Such a person would be more likely limit what is written in the article to published and not inside information and to keep the article neutral. And the fact that one knows of its existence this way demonstrates that it is very likely notable.
Age of the business
Some small businesses have been around for decades, sometimes more than a century. A business's age does not automatically grant it notability, nor does young age automatically exclude it. But the longer a business has been around, the more likely it is to have sources that can be used to establish notability simply because it has had more time to accumulate them. Sometimes these sources might be hard to find because older sources are not always online. But if they exist, they are valid to use.
A wider audience for a business means it is more likely to be notable, though this does not automatically grant it notability. If a business caters to beyond the locals, there is a good chance it has received coverage from a source outside of the town or region, which would qualify it for an article.
A business that has an iconic status in the public eye is very likely to be notable. This is true if it has been put in the national spotlight somehow. But it is important to distinguish between such an iconic status as being that of actual publications or simply word of mouth within the community or heavy local advertising.
In the news because of crime
Some businesses make it into the mass media only because of crimes that occur on the premises. Crime alone does not make a business notable. Even frequent crime that gets reported often does not establish notability. News articles about crimes that occur at the site of the business are really about the crimes and not the business. Consequently, they do not help qualify a business for an article.
In some cases, a crime will receive so much coverage that the crime itself could be notable (see WP:CRIME for info on this). If this is the case, the article should be titled to be about the crime rather than the business. If an article already exists about a business that has been found to be notable, and a crime then occurs, information about the crime can be added to the article on the business unless it is enough length to merit a separate article or the length of info about the crime greatly exceeds the amount of info in the article on the business itself.
Defunct status of a business does not have any affect on the notability of one. A business does not automatically qualify for an article on the basis that it is defunct, thereby providing a safe bet that the article is not advertising. And if a business that already has an article ceases operations, this is not a reason to delete the article either. In such a case, there could be mention added (with sources) that the business has shut down, but the article must remain. See WP:DEFUNCTS for arguments to avoid in deletion discussions pertaining to this topic.
Pictures of businesses
It is nice to have a picture of a business in the respective article. Often, the creator of an article on a small business lives near it and therefore has the ability to take such a picture when they have an opportunity. One should be familiar with the laws in the country of the business's location before taking such a picture. Many countries allow pictures of the exterior to be taken from the public domain. If a picture of the interior is to be taken, permission should be received from the owner. It is also possible for the owner of a business to offer a picture once the article is created.
Another option where available is to provide a link on Google Street View of the location of the business, displaying its location. The picture in this case is not readily visible when viewing the article, but can be seen by clicking a link.