Association of Progressive Rental Organizations | America’s Champion for Rent-to-Own

Meet RTO employee Tennyson Cox

APRO members have historically named networking and being part of the RTO family as the biggest reasons to being involved in the industry and APRO. There are so many APRO member employees that are involved in their state associations, APRO or the community, we thought it would be a good idea to introduce them to the APRO family. Tennyson Tennyson Cox has been involved with the RTO industry for 15 years. Tennyson is the Director of Operational Support for SEI/Aaron’s Inc., dba Aaron’s Sales & Lease owned by APRO Board of Directors, Charles “Chas” Smithgall IV with 107 stores throughout New York, Massachusetts, Maine, Kentucky, Indiana, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. We asked Tennyson some questions about her RTO career, involvement with APRO and what she enjoys on her time off.

How long have you been with the company and what are your general tasks?

15 years. My primary responsibility is managing the Operational Support Office in East Hartford, CT, which provides administrative and operational support to 107 SEI/Aaron’s stores. In addition, I oversee two service centers that repair computers and electronics for over 90 stores.

Tell us about your unique perspective working in the home office of a multi-store company.

There are many moving parts in a store on a daily basis. The Operational Support Office handles things such as part ordering, damage claims, and service issues that can be very time-consuming for the stores to handle on their own. Anything we can do to make their jobs easier is our goal. This allows them to focus on the two most important aspects of the business, leasing and renewing.

What is the philosophy of your company?

SEI/Aaron’s lives by four values every day:
  1. A reputation for a quality, integrity, and responsibility.
  2. Treating our associates and our customers as we would want to be treated.
  3. Development of an outstanding leadership team.
  4. Planned financial growth.
Our second value is essentially the Golden Rule: Treating our associates and our customers as we would want to be treated. I believe by living this value every day we will always be successful.

What changes have you seen in the RTO industry since you started?

As far as the transaction itself, not too many. Customers that are cash or credit constrained still like the rent-to-own transaction because it gives them the ability to have the items they want and need for their homes. Customers like the flexibility of RTO and also the relationship they have with the associates in the store.

What challenges do you see for the industry today and in the next five years?

The biggest challenge I see is making a seamless transition to online ordering. The younger generation want the ease of ordering online and doesn’t necessarily want to walk into a brick-and-mortar store to lease or purchase something. With the online transaction, we lose part of the relationship with the customer on which the rent-to-own industry has been built. It will be important to make the online customer feel as special as the ones that walk through our doors. Tennyson3

Tell us about your family.

I have been married to my husband, Patrick, for 12 years, and we have two beautiful daughters, Audrey (10) and Mazie (7). And I can’t leave out our 12-year-old Lab, Bourbon (who we rescued from New Orleans). When off work, Tennyson likes to watch her daughters participate in their extracurricular activities, including soccer, gymnastics, and basketball. She enjoys participating in craft fairs during the Fall, where she sells fleece hats that she sews. Tennyson likes running, staying active, and being outdoors as much as she can. You can see more of Tennyson’s handcrafted hats here:

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