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Top 10 Retail Franchises To Watch in 2020

E-commerce, beware—these retail franchise brands are not just weathering the storm, they’re thriving. 1851 dug into the top retail brands in the franchise space.

By Madeline LenaStaff Writer
Updated 9:09AM 12/11/19

Who run the world? Amazon. 

In 2019, the retail landscape has experienced some drastic changes—and by drastic changes, we mean, has experienced a full-out assault that saw store closure counts in the U.S. exceed their 2018 total by April. It’s not over, either, as analysis from investment bank UBS projects some 75,000 stores will be forced out of business by 2026

Amid such instability, though, a select few brick-and-mortar businesses seem to have cracked the code to persevering in the face of changing consumer preferences that greatly favor the e-commerce space, namely through investing in opportunities to foster points of connection with their audiences. 

“Over the past year—and really, over the past few years—retailers have needed to double down on their marketing efforts to raise brand awareness and create important, meaningful engagement with customers across all channels,” Nick Titus, VP of Marketing for Minuteman Press International, explained. “The retailers who market to meet customers at multiple touchpoints and offer personalized experiences will be the ones who thrive the most.”

While many retailers differ in the products and services they peddle, it’s a specialized offering a willingness to innovate that is keeping these franchise brands relevant in the face of great turbulence.

Batteries Plus Bulbs

Locations: 735-plus

Investment range: $189,250 to $366,350

Franchise opportunity website:

When your inventory consists of a product that can’t be shipped by law, your business is officially Amazon-proof. Such is the reason Batteries Plus Bulbs sells more than 85 million batteries and light bulbs annually—and as a result, has carved out a space for itself as a trusted, reliable and knowledgable provider in the communities in which it operates. Thanks to a retail footprint, an e-commerce presence and a model for generating commercial customers, the brand offers franchisees multiple revenue streams from which to profit. 

What you can learn from this brand: The average net revenue for the top 25% of Batteries Plus Bulbs’ stores is nearly $1.4 million. Not bad for a franchise that sells batteries and lightbulbs! Contrary to its name, though, Batteries Plus Bulbs has, in fact, expanded its offering to generate additional business for its franchise partners, most notably through key fob programming and replacement and device repair services. 


Locations: 400-plus

Investment range: $92,000 to $175,000

Franchise opportunity website:

With more than 77% of the U.S. owning a smartphone, the mobile repair industry is big business. And while DrPhoneFix’s primary focus is on repairing smartphones whatever their issue may be, its services extend to laptops and other devices, as well. DrPhoneFix boasts a turnkey business model that requires no relevant industry experience as a precursor to ownership, making its franchise opportunity particularly accessible to entrepreneurs seeking ample training and support. The brand also serves as its own wholesale distributor of accessories and parts, ensuring franchisee operating costs remain low and profits high.

What you can learn from this brand: In addition to a traditional brick-and-mortar storefront offering, DrPhoneFix offers prospective franchisees the option to open a location inside of their local Walmart, a unique value proposition that requires little-to-no buildout and comes with a built-in customer pool of over 140 million U.S. customers per week.

Wireless Zone

Locations: 392

Investment range: $160,000 to $394,500

Franchise opportunity website:

Wireless Zone is the largest independent Verizon Wireless retailer in the country, selling wireless devices, smart home products, Bluetooth accessories and more. With the backing of a brand as prominent in the national lexicon as Verizon, Wireless Zone exudes credibility while simultaneously maintaining the hyperlocal feel and community-centric customer service that has become the calling card of its locations since 1988.

What you can learn from this brand: Over the years, Wireless Zone has adapted to the concurrently evolving technology and retail landscapes to thrive in the wireless retail space. The brand’s track record of innovating in step with the times is shaping up to be more important than ever as the nation prepares for the advent of 5G. With Verizon’s 5G wireless network technology set up to be first-to-market in the U.S., Wireless Zone is prepared to adopt the rollout from the jump with a number of 5G-ready phones that support faster downloads, better video streaming and virtual or augmented reality capabilities.

Minuteman Press

Locations: Nearly 1,000 worldwide

Investment range: $100,000 to $150,000

Franchise opportunity website:

Minuteman Press is a B2B franchise that provides products and services of all kinds to small businesses. The brand’s offering covers marketing, advertising and other everyday needs for a given location’s local business community, creating connection points for its franchise system in their local markets. Minuteman Press emphasizes personalized customer service that aims to provide business partners with the advice and guidance that saves money and increases sales for the long-term, establishing itself as a trusted partner to its clients.

What you can learn from this brand: Most of the time, taking a look inward results in generating success outward. Such was the case for Minuteman Press, who recently explored ways to make its physical locations stand out better to further aid in driving traffic through its doors. 

“Three years ago, we redesigned our window graphics and we have seen a huge impact in our franchise locations’ visibility,” Titus said. “The new graphics are fresh, clean, and clearly explain what we can provide to our customers, such as creative design, digital printing, promotional products, and signs and banners. They help our locations stand out among other retailers and help drive traffic to our locations where our franchise owners are ready and willing to assist them.”

Digital Doc

Locations: 37

Investment range: $73,000 to $151,000

Franchise opportunity website:

Digital Doc is another mobile device repair and retail franchise that has carved out a valuable space for itself in a world that’s becoming more digital by the day. The franchise’s business focuses largely on repair, with accessory sales as a secondary revenue source. Plus, with low start-up costs, low overhead and the backing of a multi-brand parent company in Merrymeeting Group, Digital Doc’s franchise opportunity is among the most accessible in the retail space.

What you can learn from this brand: Digital Doc emerged in 2010 at a time when mobile devices were not yet a part of the majority of the U.S.’ everyday lives. The brand quickly grew alongside the industry and is poised to continue to, as estimates show approximately 25 billion internet-connected devices are expected to exist by 2020. Digital Doc also thrives in small footprints, with the maximum square footage its locations occupy being 1,200 square feet. The brand also has streamlined supply chain processes that include pre-negotiated contracts with preferred suppliers for franchisees to take advantage of.


Locations: 300-plus

Investment range: $350,000 to $750,000

Franchise opportunity website:

Danish furniture franchise BoConcept, while known for its sophisticated furniture designs that are as functional as they are chic, has evolved its offering beyond retail into the “lifestyle brand” category by offering a personalized interior design service to provide franchisees with a powerful selling tool. BoConcept is also growing its B2B business, building its presence in residential, office and hospitality settings.

What you can learn from this brand: After being named ‘Best Lifestyle Franchise’ at the Global Franchise Awards and reaching the 300-unit milestone in 2019, BoConcept directed its attention to expansion through multi-unit franchise deals over the next few years with plans to grow to more than 600 stores. BoConcept is poised to benefit from the eventual change in American interior design preferences toward the more minimalist and clean-lined modern styles trending elsewhere across the globe


Locations: 543

Investment range: $60,400 to $220,850

Franchise opportunity website:

Device repair franchise uBreakiFix distinguishes itself from competitors in the space with affordable repair services for customers and an affordable franchise opportunity for prospective business owners. Founded on the idea a perfectly good phone shouldn’t have to be replaced in whole due to just a cracked screen, uBreakiFix has since grown its offering to focus on tech repairs of all kinds. Plus, with a relatively short signing-to-opening time of four to six months, owners can expect to be generating business (and profits) soon after investing.

What you can learn from this brand: Unlike many other retail franchises, uBreakiFix is positioned to grow with the digital onset instead of be replaced by it, aiding in the brand’s growth and staying power. Through positioning that dubs the brand fixers of “anything with a power button,” steadily increasing smartphone prices and a growing consumer cognizance as it relates to e-waste, uBreakiFix experienced 66% year-over-year growth in 2019.


Locations: 2,300-plus corporately-owned locations, 180-plus franchised

Investment range: $355,392 to $582,430

Franchise opportunity website:

Rent-A-Center is, by far, the most dominant player in the rent-to-own segment of the retail industry. A strong national presence coupled with an offering that eliminates the need for credit gives consumers ample reason to return to their local Rent-A-Center store whenever they’re in need of furniture, major appliances, electronics and computers but are unable to make a large down payment.

What you can learn from this brand: Rent-A-Center backed into franchising in a different way than most brands do, establishing itself through corporate stores that are now being sold to entrepreneurs in a large-scale refranchising initiative. The brand is moving a significant number of its stores from corporate to local ownership through partnerships with multi-unit operators to purchase the rights to an entire market and take over between 30 and 50 stores.

Buddy’s Home Furnishings

Locations: 300-plus

Investment range: $385,166 to $912,594

Franchise opportunity website:

Buddy’s Home Furnishings is a rent-to-own business with a robust inventory, carrying furniture, appliances, electronics, computers and more. Buddy’s offers consumers flexible payment options including weekly or monthly rental or lease purchase programs, with an instant approval program that expedites the renting process. Buddy’s doesn’t have a fixed inventory, allowing itself to evolve to carry whatever consumers are looking for in a given moment or time period, which has helped the brand triple in size since being acquired by NewCo in 2013.

What you can learn from this brand: In July 2019, Buddy’s was acquired by Liberty Tax in a move that marked the latter company’s strategic shift in offering from tax service business to investment company. Buddy’s gets to go along for the ride thanks to the aforementioned 2013 private equity investment that helped the brand grow to its current size and up its valuation to $122 million, making it an attractive addition to Liberty Tax’s portfolio. Franchising clearly has private equity’s attention, and Buddy’s is a testament to the value that this kind of capital infusion can generate.

CPR Cell Phone Repair

Locations: 700-plus

Investment range: $55,650 to $170,500

Franchise opportunity website:

Whether consumers are seeking walk-in, drop-off, or heck, even mail-in device repair services, CPR Cell Phone Repair locations have it all. The franchise also has a retail component to its business model, as well, selling smartphones, game systems and their necessary parts and accessories, as well.

What you can learn from this brand: CPR Cell Phone Repair is another brand that benefitted from an acquisition in 2019 when it was bought from previous parent company Merrymeeting Group by Assurant, a housing and lifestyle-focused investment company. As part of the agreement, CPR gets to continue operating as an independent entity while simultaneously benefitting from Assurant’s resources and financial backing, creating a perfect scenario—and strong franchisee selling point—for a brand with an already large presence looking toward international growth.

*This brand is a paid partner of 1851 Franchise. For more information on paid partnerships please click here.