From the beginning, Midway's industry was based on livestock and farming; however, the pioneers' need for building materials quickly became paramount. Sawmills were established by the early 1860s. Three principal operators were Henry T. Coleman, John Watkins, and Moroni Blood. Lime, limestone or "pot stone" blocks, and brick also were soon manufactured. In 1861 John H. Van Wagoner constructed the first commercial gristmill. Retail stores soon were developed by enterprising residents; one, the Bonner Mercantile Store, was constructed in 1879 and is still in use today. A second long-running retail business was founded by Henry T. Coleman and Simon Epperson. Established in 1910 and originally called "the Midway Drug Store," that confectionery and grocery outlet was operated until 1986 by the Coleman family (who also owned an adjacent movie theater initially called the Star and later the Rio). Blacksmiths, livery stables, boarding houses, and other businesses were also part of the community's economy. Moreover, by the 1880s nearby mines, particularly those in Park City, began to play an important economic role in many Midway households, and did so into the late 1960s.
Because of the numerous ninety-degree-plus hot-water springs in the Midway area, several resorts were developed including Schneitter's Hot Pots (now the Homestead) and Luke's Hot Pots (now the Mountain Spa); both were established in the 1880s.