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Choose Your Path

Ready to start a retail business? Don't get stuck at the fork in the road--we've mapped out 3 different retail paths so you can choose the one that's right for you.

This story appears in the March 2005 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Editor's Note: Looking for our online exclusive? Click herefor our online Retail Center, where you'll find additional tips, resources and information that'll help you get your retail business started.

The world of retail is everywhere you look. It's the coffee-cart kiosk you pass on your way to the office in the morning; it's the brick-and-mortar shoe store you hit during the lunch hour; and it's the online emporium where you order discount stereo equipment in the evening. As a nation of consumers, we spent $3.8 trillion at retail establishments in 2003, according to statistics from the National Retail Federation in Washington, DC. Trying to get your head around that number is tough--but trying to get a piece of that gargantuan pie? Now, that's doable.

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