APRO member Rent-A-Center held its annual RACFI [Rent-A-Center Franchising International] Winter Meeting on February 2-4 at the Gaylord Texan Resort in Grapevine, Texas. The event’s theme, “The Digital Pathway,” was reflected throughout the week’s full agenda – from a stunning awards reception and forward-focused education sessions, to a robust supplier show and a message to help RAC franchisees move forward with clarity into 2022.
“If we continue to innovate, our opportunities are endless,” said Rent-A-Center CEO Mitch Fadel. “That’s the biggest takeaway for our franchisees who attended.”
On the first day of the three-day event, the RACFI Awards Reception set the tone for the meeting by honoring franchisees’ spirits of competition and entrepreneurship. The multi-brand franchise recognized more than 500 stores, employees, and owners for their excellence over the past year and their continuing hard work through the pandemic. The Top Franchisee of the Year award, known as the Eagle Award, is based on revenue, growth, and community impact, and was awarded to APRO member The Raintree Group.
Day 2 kicked off with a General Session, which featured members of RAC’s leadership team providing an overview of the state of the business since the new year. Vice President of Franchising Michael Landry informed attendees that the RACFI brands could be found in 465 locations by the close of 2021, and that franchisees received more tools than ever before to support their stores, particularly during the pandemic. Landry also outlined the phenomenal growth the RACFI brands have experienced over the past five years, and thanked recent retirees for their service in the RTO industry.
Next, Fadel spoke about the importance of attracting and retaining the right store staff, as well as how customer behaviors have changed during the pandemic. He noted that customers are expressing a need to do business, rather than a more passive want, which is why RACFI brands must stay proactive in fulfilling their customers’ needs.
Company “housekeeping” information followed, then a very relevant legal update. Kids Across America (KAA) Chief Development Officer Dave Feldner and Development Manager Lissie Hickman shared a video explaining the Christian sports camp for urban children and RAC’s partnership. Franchisees made donations during the event’s supplier show totaling $25,000, which RAC matched, doubling the funds raised to $50,000 – which will sponsor 85 children to go to KAA camp this year.
“Kids Across America is truly grateful for our continuing partnership and support,” Feldner said. “Since the early ‘90s, KAA has been blessed by RAC franchisees, RAC corporate, and a many RAC suppliers and vendors. We look forward to many more years of offering kids from under-resourced communities nationwide an opportunity to experience a life-changing week at camp.”
APRO Executive Director Jill McClure closed the General Session with updates to activity across the rent-to-own industry.
McClure spoke directly to APRO member franchises in the audience, “We appreciate your commitment to not just collaborating with us on protecting your own business, but also supporting the collective work we do for the RTO industry. Our partnership is critical for our shared success and to continue meeting the needs of our customers.”