APRO Contest Winner Shares Her Story at Legislative Conference

Jessica Mahon, R20 Communications Manager; Jill McClure, APRO Executive Director; and contest winner Heather Kitchen at the APRO Legislative Conference Dinner

APRO held a “What’s Your RTO Story?” contest in February awarding the winner with a free trip to Washington, D.C. for its 2019 Legislative Conference last week. We asked our members to submit their most inspiring RTO stories of how the industry has positively impacted their lives and the lives of their employees or customers. This year’s winner was Heather Kitchen, store manager of Rent-2-Own [R2O], and this is her RTO Story:

Heather Kitchen has learned the ins and outs of her local community in Jackson, OH, through a career with local rent-to-own store. Starting as an account manager, Kitchen has worked her way up to the store manager for Rent-2-Own [R2O], seeing the impact her work has on the local community at each step along the way.

R2O is a hub of community involvement for the Jackson community, providing school supplies, clothing drives, and a Christmas Wish List. For Kitchen, a specific Christmas Wish has stayed with her over the years. The wisher wanted to take her mother, a terminal cancer patient, to the beach for one last family trip. The Jackson R2O granted this wish, taking the wisher and her parents to the beach – a little bit of hope in a difficult time. The smile on the mother’s face remains one of Kitchen’s fondest memories in her time at R2O.

Kitchen also credits R2O with giving her a better understanding of the community by providing jobs for the local residents. The Jackson R2O has hired three new employees over a six month period. Two were single mothers, and the last had been unemployed. Seeing the challenges her team members face on a day-to-day basis, Kitchen says the experience has helped her better understand the difficulties of living in a poverty-stricken community like Jackson. She says it has made her better appreciate her blessings and has made her a better person.