This paper uses longitudinal business establishment data from rural counties in the US Midwest to examine the role of locational assets as determinants of firms’ ability to survive economic shocks. I use a proportional hazards model to estimate the likelihood of survival associated with a business establishment’s proximity to features of the built environment. I find that two specific locational assets—proximity to a central business district and proximity to a limited access highway—are closely associated with a reduced likelihood of failure (going out of business) in the years following the Great Recession. The hazard model was repeated using a series of regression sub-samples, each generated according to establishment size or industry sector. The sub-sample regressions provide a clearer picture of the role played by the built environment as a locational determinant of business survival: smaller establishments benefit from higher survival odds when located in close proximity to a downtown district, while larger businesses—especially those in the manufacturing sector—benefited instead from being located in close proximity to interstate highway ramps.