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

Meeting of the Minds Gets Spicy in Albuquerque

Alex Rindone of O’Rourke Sales Company (L), Kevin Silvers of New Generations Diamond & Jewelry Co. (C), and TRIB Group Executive Director Dennis Shields (R), enjoy a round of golf.

From the first glimpse of snow-capped peaks upon arriving in Albuquerque, New Mexico, it was clear that this was not going to be a mild event – APRO member TRIB Group brought the heat to the 2024 Meeting of the Minds.

The show kicked off with a golf outing at the University of New Mexico Championship Course on Saturday afternoon, followed by early registration on Sunday morning and a TRIB membership meeting that afternoon.

Later that night, event attendees enjoyed a visit to the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, where they toured the museum and learned about the rich Native American history of New Mexico. Local artists showcased their handcrafted jewelry, pottery, and clothing, and guests were treated to a series of Native American dances by a youth dance troupe as the evening’s grand finale.

David P. David shares tips and tricks to stand out from the competition during the Store Merchandising breakout session.

Monday started with a high-energy keynote speaker, Buddy Bush, Executive Director of JB Training Solutions, who shared insights on retaining top talent during the Great Resignation. Bush emphasized engaging with employees, diversifying job duties, recognizing workplace stars, encouraging problem-solving, and showing meaningful appreciation. Her strategies highlighted the importance of creating a positive workplace culture to enhance retention efforts in today’s challenging workforce environment.

The keynote session was followed by engaging educational sessions covering topics like Store Merchandising with David P. David, President of Full-O-Pep Appliances Inc. dba American Rental, Angela Strong-McCool, Co-Owner of Mike Strong Inc. dba Mike’s Rent-To-Own, and Dan Singh, CEO of Dial Rent To Own; Multi-Unit Leadership with Chris Kale, Jr., Operating Partner of Happy’s Home Centers Inc.; and Podcast Discussions with TRIB Group President Mike Tissot, Owner of Countryside Rentals Inc. dba Rent-2-Own, Pete Shau, Regional Manager for Buddy Mac Holdings LLC dba Buddy’s Home Furnishings, Mike Simoncini of Majik Enterprises International Inc. dba Majik Rent-To-Own, and APRO CEO Charles Smitherman. The sessions were buzzing with engaged attendees who came loaded with plenty of questions.

A flamenco dancer performs during post-Hot Show dinner.

While rental dealers were busy learning, exhibitors were setting up their booths to greet everyone at a special sneak-peek reception just before the Hot Show. After the Hot Show, attendees witnessed New Mexico’s finest flamenco dancers while feasting on a delicious meal.

During dinner, TRIB Group recognized several dealers and vendors for outstanding service awards, including:

  • Norman W. “Slatts” Slatton, Sr. Presidents Award – Chris Kale Jr., Happy’s Home Centers Inc.
  • John D. Blair Vendor Hall of HonorJimmy Taylor, Southerland Inc. and Kent Clark, Ashley Furniture Industries
  • Lowry Shrader People’s Choice Award for Outstanding Vendor – Ken Kidd, C&L Supply
  • James B. Baber Vendor’s Choice AwardThad Borchers, Ace Furniture & TV Inc. dba Ace Rent-To-Own

Tuesday was all about getting busy and making those purchases in a vibrant tradeshow floor environment. Attendees engaged with a wide variety of products and services vendors, including some brand-new vendors like APRO Member Octillion Media and Redball Technology.

APRO staff welcomes members to their APRO Coffee House booth. (L to R) VP of Membership Jen Troke, CEO Charles Smitherman, and Director of Marketing and Communications Amberlee Maya
Explanation of the Pueblo Indian greeting, “Until we meet again.”

APRO got in on the fun welcoming members into the APRO Coffee House, serving coffee and loving the chance to visit with our members! The APRO team raised almost $1,000 towards the APRO Scholarship Fund through our raffle for an espresso maker. Congratulations to our lucky winner, Central Rent 2 Own CFO Julie Knight!

After a busy day, everyone was ready for a unique Albuquerque experience at the Saw Mill Market. Attendees were treated to over 27 different food and beverage vendors, and some live music in the yard. It was an amazing way to wrap up this incredible experience as the sun set over the Sandia Mountains. As the Pueblo say, “Until We Meet Again!”

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