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10 Retail Franchise Businesses You May Never Have Considered

Sep 8, 2008
The word retail can bring to mind a handful of things for the average American: Wal-Mart, Target, Macy's, JC Penny, a favorite book shop, and maybe the handful of little mom-and-pops in the neighborhood. Entrepreneurs, however, are no ordinary Americans, and they know that there are plenty of other business opportunities available to anyone hoping to start a retail franchise. Often, there are still many business opportunities that remain overlooked, and often, these overlooked opportunities are some of the best. So take a moment to look at the retail franchises you might not have noticed before.

From an American perspective, Cartridge World seems like an up-and-comer in the retail world, but really, the company has been building a franchising force for the last 17 years. Since its start in Australia in 1991, this company has grown to the size of 1600 international stores, 500 of which are spreading across the United States, and all of that success has been built on one simple principle: printers need ink cartridges, and refilling them is much easier and cheaper than buying them new.

One market that is often overlooked is the mailbox shop, and a major player in the business is The Mailbox Stores. Technically, this business is not a franchise, because the buyer is given 100% control of the operation and has no royalties or fees to pay; however, he still gets all the initial planning and continuing business help that he needs to succeed at renting personal mail boxes and providing mailing services to his clients. The Mailbox Stores provide all the perks of a franchise with fewer responsibilities.

Another forgotten industry is mattresses. If we think about it, the overwhelming majority of America uses a mattress every single night. We spend an average of one third of our lives in ben, and for that reason, there is always a demand for mattresses. Franchising with America's Mattress throws you into a retail market that will exist as long as human beings keep sleeping--which should be awhile.

Let's not forget a retail hero that we all know and love, though we may not always think about it: the dollar store. Though you may never have been in a Dollar Stores by Allied Systems franchise, you have undoubtedly had the dollar store experience somewhere very similar. Business in this market keeps up very steadily, making this sometimes snubbed business truly profitable, even when that profit comes in one dollar at a time.

A big sector of retail is clothing, but not all clothing franchise opportunities are created equally. One option on the table for the franchisee with an eye for something different is flip-flops--yes, the footwear. If you're looking for a specialty shop, it doesn't get any more specialty than the Flip Flop Shop, where all they sell is sandals. The stock is relatively simple; the clientele is downright fun; and by design, the store is built to succeed in the average American mall. Another mall-targeting retail outlet is Hometown Threads; the name to trust when it comes to clothing personalization. Whether the customer is getting 200 hoodies embroidered with their company logo or getting a special image screen-printed on a baseball cap for his brother's birthday, there is always work to do in a retail market that is increasingly leaning to personalized products.

One off-the-radar establishment is Pacific Power Batteries. Everyone uses batteries, yet most of us don't even know how many different kinds there are, but Pacific Power Batteries does. They provide everything from batteries for your emergency flashlight, to equipment for solar panels, which means that anyone who has any kind of energy needs is a viable source of business.

Another good company that you've probably never seen is Baby Safe Homes, the name to call for childproofing safety equipment. This work from home business does all of its retail work out of a company vehicle, but the work is not just sales. The owner provides consultations, in-home safety analyses, product sales, and installation where necessary. It's not just retail; it's full service.

Finally, if you want something in the retail/service market, a salon is a great choice, and there are a number of great business opportunities here. None is more interesting than a men's salon. Yes, you read that right, with your own American Male franchise, you can be one of the few operations in town that caters specifically to the beauty needs of local upscale men. It is a relaxed environment for franchisee, employees, and clients because that is precisely what the shop must be to address the needs of busy, and often stressed, guests. But if a women's salon seems more in line with your personal retail goals, :10 Minute Manicure is a great option. Based on an original shop built in an airport, the concept is simple and perfect for a fast-paced world: get clients in, served, relaxed, and out in only 10 minutes. It seems like it could be a challenge for someone with no previous experience in salon life, but the business was begun by an attorney and 2 PR executives, so you can be certain that whatever your professional past, their systems are successful enough to see you through.

It's amazing what can be found by simply taking the time to look past the businesses that you recognize. Virtually any retail small business franchise has a good outlook for success, but if you pick something that not everyone is doing, at least you'll have more fun telling people what you do.
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