New York Rental Dealers Talk Virtual RTO at Annual Meeting

From left to right: Tina Haxhillari, David Epright, Tyler Heck, David Kaye, Ed Winn, John Manzari, David Bier, Brett Pronti, Greg Heck, David Phillips, Joe Bird, Lisa Bird, Ray Bird, Steve Dwyer, Dave Edwards and Nick Barella.

The New York Rental Dealers Association met in Verona, New York, this week for its annual business meeting. Rental dealers from the Empire State and parts of New England assembled to discuss the state of the rent-to-own industry and to elect a new board of directors.

APRO General Counsel Ed Winn III presented an informative legal update, after which members discussed a number of hot topics, including virtual RTO companies (e-commerce) and what brick-and-mortar RTO stores are doing to adapt and compete. “Consumer shopping habits continue to change, especially in this new electronic age,” says NYRDA President Dave Edwards. “We discussed what we’re doing to compete with both kiosks and internet companies that are competing with our brick-and-mortar business.”

In general, attendees concurred on the current state of the industry. On the plus side, expenses are in line, operations are effective, and they’ve been able to maintain good personnel and sound business policies. Their key challenge was also similar: simply getting customers to walk through the door. “There was a varied approach to get more foot traffic,” Edwards says. “Some believe that advertising a lower retail price will drive traffic, while others believe advertising a lower rental rate will do the trick.” Reaching consumers through social media was also discussed.

The meeting closed with a presentation by Capitol Group lobbyist Nick Barrella, who provided an update on the current legislative issues affecting New York and New England.

NYRDA’s newly elected, or re-elected, board of directors are Dave Edwards, president; Bill Monnat, vice president; Greg Heck, secretary/treasurer; and board members Rick Vadnais, David Epright, David Kaye and Dave Phillips.