Association of Progressive Rental Organizations | America’s Champion for Rent-to-Own

Premier Celebrates Successes Miami-Style

Premier’s Vendor of the Year, Michael Kays of Ashley Furniture Industries (L), celebrates his win with TRIB Group Executive Director Dennis Shields (C) , and W. Silver Products Brent Polunsky (R).

APRO member The Premier Companies hosted its annual convention in the heart of Miami Beach, Florida, in mid-January. Franchisees from across the country found reprieve from winter weather on the white sands of South Beach as they networked with other dealers and vendors during a diverse mix of discussions, receptions, awards, a vendor show, and a competitive scavenger hunt. 

Guests gathered poolside on the rooftop patio for the Welcome Reception, where Michael Kays, Ashley Furniture Industries’ Vice President of Rental Sales, was honored as Vendor of the Year.  

The General Session opened with Premier President and CEO Trooper Earle’s presentation on the state of the company and a detailed analysis on the strength of rent-to-own – detailing both its survival and thriving throughout the political and economic changes of the past forty years, as well as how it’s poised to flourish for the next forty.

“Premier continues to grow, invest in, and support our franchises,” said Earle. “We continue to be the gold standard in rent-to-own. Thank you for coming to Miami to celebrate with the Premier family our successes and to further unify our family.” 

Premier franchisee Michael Gughiocello (L) and Trooper Earle enjoy networking during the Welcome Reception.

Following Earle’s presentation, VP of Operations and Premier franchisee Mike Lewis delivered a motivational talk on the importance of a healthy lifestyle as a core part of personal and business success. John Manzari, franchisee and Chairman of the Owners Advisory Committee, provided an update on the committee’s meeting of the previous day and the outlook for 2024. Following the session, attendees were split up into teams to compete in a scavenger hunt that also let them explore and enjoy the architecture and other sights of Miami Beach. 

The Vendor Show, spotlighting 23 companies, happened that afternoon, followed by the Awards Banquet. A highlight of the banquet happened when Premier’s Event Director Larkin Mott took a special moment to honor the memory of Pat Earle, Trooper’s mother and pillar of support for the company for decades, who died last year.

The following APRO members were recognized as Premier Top Performers:

  • Matt Chamberlain – Easy Rentals Inc. dba Premier Rental-Purchase
  • Brian Duke & Ruben FloresR&B Dreammakers dba Premier Rental-Purchase
  • Coe Ecker & David QuinnD.H. Rentals Inc. dba Premier Rental-Purchase
  • Chad & Rhonda FosdickCR Fosdick Ent. Inc. dba Premier Rental-Purchase
  • Sandi FryeWhite Rose Enterprises dba Premier Rental-Purchase
  • Angelo GughiocelloMAKA Rental Purchase Inc. dba Partner’s Sales & Leasing / Premier
  • Scott KinnearSR Kinnear Inc. dba Premier Rental-Purchase
  • Wally Landmesser & Rob RiceNicole Rental Purchase LLC dba Premier Rental-Purchase
  • Mike LewisCentral Properties dba Premier Rental-Purchase
  • John ManzariWoodyKat Inc. dba Premier Rental-Purchase
  • Heath Peters, Craig Shafer, & Mike ShulerS&P Rentals Inc. dba Premier Rental-Purchase
  • Bill ScripaOrange Rock Inc. dba Premier Rental-Purchase
  • Jamie & Rick SieverdingSieverding Group dba Premier Rental-Purchase
  • John SprayberryCandie-Johns Rentals Inc. dba Premier Rental-Purchase
  • Tim StrachanGTS Management LLC dba Premier Rental-Purchase
  • Felipe Sauceda, Joe Felan, Vanessa Gomez, Frank Gonzales, Stevie Ray Jimenez, & Gabriel ZapataTexas RTO Investments Inc. dba Premier Rental-Purchase
  • Drew SummaExtreme Rentals Inc. dba Premier Rental-Purchase
  • Sean YoungForever Young Rental Enterprises Inc. dba Premier Rental-Purchase

From that elite group, Texas RTO Investments was selected Premier’s 2023 Franchisee of the Year in recognition of its representation of the values of Premier and exceptional example for others to follow. “Every Texas RTO employee played a big part in us receiving this prestigious award,” said General Manager Joe Felan. “We’re all honored and grateful.”

Mike Lewis (second from L) and Trooper Earle (third from R) congratulate (L to R) Frank Gonzales, Joe Felan, Stevie Ray Jimenez, Vanessa Gomez, Gabriel Zapata, and Felipe Sauceda of Texas RTO Investments on their 2023 Franchisee of the Year Award.

APRO CEO Charles Smitherman and Vice President of Membership Jen Troke presented the 2023 Premier Industry Service Awards to a long list of individuals who generously give their time and energy to work with APRO and state rental dealer associations, and contribute to the APRO Charitable Foundation for educational scholarships and disaster relief.

“Premier continues to be a leader in serving and supporting the rent-to-own industry and APRO – which is apparent from the long list of Service Award winners this year,” said Smitherman. “It is always a privilege to spend time with this special group and to witness the many positive things they’re doing to help our industry thrive.” 

Click here to view Premier’s national convention highlights video.

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