I would not go franchise. Royalties, fees, 8-10% of your profits gone every month and usually you are left asking yourself if it was worth it and resenting it because you feel like you work for someone rather than owning a business. When you are independent you get 100% of the profits and manage it yourself.
You can open your own dollar store, party store, teen store for much less than that. I am the creative director for a company that develops independent businesses for people and we develop about 250 stores every year for our clients. They pay one price and get the keys and they are in business - that simple. Additionally we train them, their employees, managers and for the life of their business. We offer almost all the same support that a franchise does but for no additional cost. So it doesn't make sense to go franchise.
Check out this interview with the owner of Cool Kat Party Supplies in Spring Texas. I had a great time there doing this and his new independent party store is BEAUTIFUL. Additionally, he is planning on opening up more locations and franchising his own brand - now that is better than buying a franchise right? Anyway, this is a good video if you want to hear it from him and see how his store turned out.
We do many different concepts as well. Dollar Stores, Party Stores, Mail Box Stores, Teen Stores, Clothing Stores, Fitness Centers, Yogurt Shops, Dollar Plus stores and even Big Box 20,000 square foot stores that are independently owned. Check out www.discountretailstoreservices.com and see for yourself, but before you go franchise think independent!