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

APRO Team Sees the Future at Aaron’s GenNext Store

Aaron’s Sales Manager Viveka Chavez, Director of Government Relations Michael Wall, Store Manager Keith Guerrero, and Store Manager Israel “Izzy” Vasquez are proud of their GenNext store in Universal City, Texas.

By APRO Vice President of Membership Jen Troke and Director of Events Lisa Krabbenhoft

It was all blue skies and Texas heat as we rolled up to the Aaron’s GenNext store in Universal City – a suburb of San Antonio, Texas. From the outside, the building is shaped like an enormous letter “A” in warm, sleek wood. Just inside the doors, we stepped into the store’s first hot zone, where a gorgeous Ashley Furniture Industries living room set invited us in for a closer look.

Store Manager Keith Guerrero and Aaron’s Director of Government Relations Michael Wall explained that Aaron’s GenNext stores are designed to offer a customer experience similar to that of a traditional retail furniture store, with larger, brighter showrooms that are easy to navigate.

A little under 30% of Aaron’s company-operated stores are GenNext concept; the Universal City store is one of two GenNext stores in the San Antonio area. At almost 40,000 square feet, the store is spacious, with six hot zones at the front of the store displaying a variety of featured styles that are changed quarterly. The remainder of the store is a static showroom updated seasonally or as needed.

Among the brands on the showroom floor is Woodhaven – Aaron’s fully-owned furniture manufacturing subsidiary, with the entire line made in America at six facilities in southern Georgia. Company Founder Charlie Loudermilk had the foresight in the 1980s to develop a supply chain for his stores to help keep prices down and support American workers.

The store is designed to simplify the user experience – from the large electronic display where customers can browse Aaron’s entire catalogue, to the in-store kiosk where they can get quickly qualified without reference checks, to automatic payment options so they don’t need to worry about reminder calls from the store. Guerrero said the auto-payments work so well that he misses talking to his customers more often!

Guerrero started working at Aaron’s in accounts, and has now been with the company for more than 10 years. He recently returned to being a store manager after helping launch GenNext stores throughout the country, including the nation’s largest GenNext store in Gallup, New Mexico.

“I love helping people fill their homes with beautiful, reliable products,” Guerrero said. “And if anything goes wrong, we’re always right there to fix it.”

The GenNext concept is Aaron’s vision for the future, and it’s looking good – especially for optimizing the customer experience.

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