After 35 years in the rent-to-own industry, newly retired Overland Park, Kansas, resident George Ramel has put away his order book and is contemplating his first-ever visit to the wide-open spaces of the Northern Plains and other locations in the U.S. that he and his wife Angie have never visited.
“We have three children and 12 grandchildren spread across the country,” George says. “We plan to drive first to Wyoming, Montana and the Dakotas as a start, and who knows where we will go from there?”
George and Angie have long been movers and shakers in the RTO industry. Named the 2019 APRO Vendor of the Year, George retired in March from the high-profile role as Sales Director of the Rental Division of Progressive Furniture – where his success and collaboration with Angie to deliver exceptional customer service and results over the past 11 years were legendary.
After 30 years as an educator, Angie retired from teaching in 2009 – about when George joined Progressive Furniture – and the two became a popular duo at trade shows and other RTO events.
“As Angie and I move on to new experiences, we are both grateful to have been a part of this vibrant industry,” says George. “Today there is a huge opportunity for rent-to-own businesses across the nation as our demographics change and retail buying is transformed by online sales. I believe RTO will play a very important role in helping individuals and families with limited access to credit or the Internet acquire the furniture, electronics and other products they need to thrive and be productive in the future. I will watch with interest this next phase of RTO growth and change.”
Reflecting on retirement, George and Angie agree they will both miss their strong industry-wide personal relationships. “We not only had good customers, we had good friends,” she says. “We built a wonderful career getting to know many positive and unforgettable people; we have been very fortunate.”