Members of the Florida Rental Dealers Association met in Tampa this week for their annual meeting. This year’s theme was “RTO Life,” and also marked the highest attendance in the group’s history. “We know it’s not easy to be out of your stores and we know you had to travel and rearrange your schedule to be here and it is our hope that the events over the last couple of days benefit you and broaden your connections within our group,” says FRDA President Sharon Tomaszewski. “We want you to walk away from here with meaningful information and ideas that you can take back to your stores and share. We want you to meet new people and build relationships that will support you and that is what guides us when planning this meeting. From the fun events, to the product information and training, industry updates and educational breakout sessions, it’s all done with you in mind.” FRDA’s event kicked off with the state association’s annual Pirate Pub Crawl via river taxi’s along downtown Tampa’s Riverwalk including a welcome reception at Rooftop 220. Attendees enjoyed food, drinks and a sunset overlooking the Tampa Hillsborough River. After the reception, the group boarded trolleys to Gaspar’s Grotto, Tampa’s notorious pirate bar. The event benefits FRDA’s educational scholarships; more than $3000 was raised that evening for the cause. This year, FRDA awarded scholarships to Caitlin Miller, Lillian Snyder and Tatum Ellington. The following day, attendees had the opportunity to meet with vendors to learn more about their latest product offerings at the Vendor Mingle and after lunch, the official FRDA Annual Meeting began. Tomaszewski thanked everyone in attendance including event sponsors Ashley Furniture and RentDirect Nationwide, Welcome Reception; NCTV and Rivero, Gordimer & Company, P.A., Pirate Pub Crawl; TRIB Group and O’Rourke Sales, Member Lunch; Symbol Mattress, Annual Meeting and Keynote Speaker; RES Accessories and PTS Direct Benefits, Pirate Pub Crawl T-Shirts. APRO Executive Director Jill McClure shared highlights of RTO World 2018 held in August, provided an update on APRO’s legislative monitoring, and invited everyone to attend the 2019 APRO Legislative Conference April 9 – 11 in Washington, D.C. She also spoke about recent interest in the rent-to-own industry by the FTC. Keynote speaker, Rick Gallegos with Dale Carnegie Training, led a coaching seminar, “How to Coach Your Employees to High Performance,” before the group broke out into seven rapid fire sessions moderated by FRDA board members. Topics included training, recruiting, lead management, hot products, marketing, future of RTO and Q4 sales strategy. “Outside of this meeting, FRDA works throughout the year for all of us—for our businesses, our employees, our customers and our industry. We’re an association that advocates for the protection, prosperity and protection of our members. This association provides value and support to you and we want to make sure that we deliver that to everyone. Not just today, but every day.” Click here for more photos of FRDA’s 2018 meeting.