Business researchers and policymakers frequently overlook ethnic minority microbusinesses. Yet, together with small and medium-sized organizations, microbusinesses drive both local and national economies. Combining social capital theory with the resource-based view and building upon 43 in-depth interviews, this study proposes a model of ‘compassionate customer service’. In ethnic minority microbusinesses, coethnic culturally sensitive customer service is an important strategic resource for sustainable success, which high street chains lack. A key challenge for ongoing business survival and success is to ensure that future ethnic minority generations sustain coethnic compassionate customer service.