The first product I buy on a regular basis is coffee. I usually buy coffee beans from a small company that sells them at a local farmers' market. Although I am personally committed to supporting small local businesses when possible, I am not sure if this particular local roasting company would be a good investment, as it is really just a single person who does artisanal coffee roasting.
The farmers' market at which I buy coffee and produce has been in existence for over 10 years, and might be a good investment. As it is a local rather than global business, there are two ways in which I can research it. First, I can use census and similar demographic data to see that the area in which the market is located has low unemployment, high average income, and a track record of steady growth. I also know, by personal experience and talking with other customers and stallholders, that there is no grocery store within 20 miles and that many of the affluent and well-educated consumers plan to continue shopping at the farmers' market. If the farmers' market were seeking investors, I would invest in it for two reasons: first, it is a successful local business with no immediate competition, and second, it is important to my personal lifestyle to help it grow and thrive.
The third service I use every day is the internet. I would not, however, invest in my internet supplier at the present time. I regularly read The Economist and occasionally The Wall Street Journal, and my sense is that as a middle class individual, it is statistically unlikely that I could do better than the market at picking individual stocks, and thus I think that a low-cost tracking fund would be a far better investment than trying to pick individual stocks.