Rent-to-own professionals from across the country gathered March 3-6 in Nashville for the 2018 Meeting of the Minds & Expo hosted by TRIB Group. The event included a hot show, Buy Fair Expo, and a member dinner at the Wild Horse Saloon. This year’s agenda included two back-to-back days of rent-to-own open discussions, panels and breakout sessions that covered topics such as company culture, engagement, cash flow, Customer Relationship Management Systems (CRMs), digital marketing and tires in a traditional RTO store. APRO Executive Director Jill McClure led a Young Professionals breakout session and discussion focused on the next generation of rent-to-own leaders, followed by her APRO association update in the Ryman ballroom. McClure challenged attendees to become advocates for rent-to-own, sharing how visiting lawmakers in Washington is an essential part of industry efforts to safeguard against harmful legislation. She also talked about investing in the industry’s young professionals. “We’re having ongoing discussions with the RTO YP group as we identify ways to engage and serve them. There’s a strong group forming, and the best way to retain our young professionals is to provide them with connection, education and opportunities for leadership,” says McClure. At the Hot Show, a special tribute was made to APRO member, TRIB Group board member and Smart Way owner Ben Bost who suffered two strokes in November that left him a quadriplegic. The buying group raised more than $56,000 to help fund a specialty van for Bost. Another highlight of the event included the announcement of the buying group’s President’s Award recipient, Shannon Strunk. “Shannon Strunk has selflessly given his time and efforts to the rent-to-own industry for many years, both in his role as board member and president of APRO as well as board member and President of TRIB. His efforts towards establishing the APRO Education Foundation Scholarship Fund has led to 177 recipients being awarded nearly $700,000 in scholarships,” says TRIB Group President Dan Fisher. “When I first joined the TRIB board, Shannon took a personal interest in mentoring me and helping me gain confidence in my contributions. I am by nature a relatively introverted person and he helped me believe that I could contribute as a leader even without being a dynamic speaker. I grew to respect him even more and I realized how hard he worked to advocate for our members, especially the members who own 1-5 stores that comprise the majority of TRIB Group. His passion for this industry and for helping others which is always under the radar, never seeking recognition, is an inspiration to me.” This year’s Hot Show saw $7.3 million in sales with Lyn Leach as the auctioneer. Additional Speakers included APRO Members SKC Enterprises, dba Rent One’s Mark Williams; Benefit Marketing’s Brad Denison and Susan Matthews; Jaguar Holdings LLC, dba Eagle Rental Purchase’s Joe Fischer; Premier Rental-Purchase/Ultima Gemini Group’s Trinidad Rubio; Rent-2-Own’s Mike Tissot; Happy’s Home Centers’ Chris Kale Jr. and Jeff Kale; Majik Rent-to-Own’s Dan Fisher and Scott Waltman; ACE Rent-to-Own’s Lyn Leach and Frank Rotert; Preferred Sales and Leasing, dba Buddy’s Home Furnishings’ Todd Homberger; Growby’s Rent-to-Own’s Eric Grow; Rent-A-Center, dba Impact Holdings’ Paul Metivier; and Whirlpool’s Nick Wuesthoff. Also in attendance were APRO board members President Louis Garcia, Second Vice President Chris Kale Sr., Treasurer Trent Agin, Dennis Adams, Larry Carrico, David P. David, Sandi Frye, and Vendor Liaison Bill French. Click here to see more photos of TRIB Group’s 2018 Meeting of the Minds & Expo.