Variety stores are a one-stop alternative for customers searching for both common and difficult-to-find items. Variety stores of yesterday such Woolworth's and Ben Franklin have given way to Dollar Tree, the Dollar Store and Dollar General. Opening your own variety store rather than opting for opening a franchise operation leaves you responsible for deciding what products to sell. A mix of regularly stocked and rotating products that cater to customers’ needs and wants are the key to operating a successful variety store.

Basic Necessities

Whether customers consider your variety store a destination or just happen in, shelves stocked with basic necessities can keep them coming back. Core products such as cleaning supplies, paper products, personal hygiene and health and beauty products can become what draws customers in but not necessarily all they ultimately choose to purchase. Cater first to what customers need, and then add products throughout the store that appeal to what they want.

Grocery Items

Big-name variety stores are trending toward becoming more of a one-stop shop by adding brand name packaged and fresh food items to their regular inventory. Customers don’t always expect variety stores to sell food items, and even fewer may expect to see brand names, so regularly stocking food items can be a welcome surprise. Not all variety stores have the facilities or budget to accommodate large inventories of perishable items. A small cooler or freezer display at the front of the store that stocks milk and dairy products, a few fresh vegetables and frozen convenience meals can put your variety store on a customer’s radar as an in-between destination.

Discount and Novelty Items

Variety stores traditionally stock -- and customers traditionally expect -- a wide assortment of discount and novelty products. Continually rotate inventories of these items, which can include anything from coloring books to small household appliances to a variety of close-outs. In addition to designating a section of the store to these products, strategically placing them on end-of-aisle and storefront displays and next to checkout registers makes impulse items visible and easily accessible to customers.

Seasonal Products

Stock party products that revolve around holidays, special occasions such as birthdays and graduations and special themes such sports or retirement parties. Provide products that cater to customers searching for low-cost Christmas, Halloween, Valentine’s Day and other holiday items. Extend seasonal products to include swimming, gardening and grilling accessories in summer months. Stock shelves with yard cleanup, auto and home winterizing supplies in the fall, shovels, hats, gloves and mittens in the winter and grass seed, flower pots and blooming flowers in the spring.