APRO’s Code of Ethics was created when the association was formed in 1980 as part of an effort to organize the industry against legislative threats at the time. APRO’s first members wrote the code of ethics to establish a set of guidelines consistent with what they felt should be the industry’s values and ethical standards. These 14 Code of Ethics are still the defining guidance that APRO members agree upon to maintain a healthy business environment. In April, the APRO Board of Directors identified reconfirming these Code of Ethics as a priority during their Strategic Planning meeting, and as a result, APRO will feature a series of articles to familiarize and reconfirm each of these ethical standards with membership.

Members shall provide high-quality rental goods and services to their customers and to the community in which they live.

“Rental dealers have much more investment in finding high-quality products than the average retailer because they are ultimately responsible for repairing or replacing throughout the life of the agreement,” says APRO Director of Business Development Tony Pinterelli, “In a lot of ways they have as much invested in the product as the consumer.”

APRO’s third article in the Code of Ethics highlights the importance of providing high-quality rental goods and services not only because it is a good business practice in general, but it is particularly important to the Rental Purchase Industry because the return on investment products produce for dealers is a critical part of the fundamental business model.

“On average a product is rented about four times before it goes to term and ownership shifts from the dealer to the customer. In most cases the manufacturer warranty will expire long before the product is owned by a customer, so in effect, the warranty shifts to the responsibility of the dealer,” says Vice President of National Account Sales for O’Rourke Sales Bill French. “A rental dealer is looking for ‘book value’—how much revenue was brought in by the first customer, and then conversely, how much it will cost to continue generating revenue. Rental dealers have to find ways to best leverage the value of their products that will add value and keep costs as effective as possible throughout the life of their agreements.”

Rent-A-Center, Inc. recently announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement with Vintage Rodeo Parent, LLC, an affiliate of Vintage Capital Management, LLC, in which Vintage will acquire all of the outstanding shares of Rent-A-Center stock for $15.00 per share in cash. The transaction, which is not subject to a financing condition, and is expected to close by the end of 2018, subject to customary closing conditions including the receipt of stockholder and regulatory approvals, represents a total consideration of approximately $1.365 billion, including net debt.

Under the terms of the Merger Agreement, Rent-A-Center stockholders will receive $15.00 in cash for each share of Rent-A-Center common stock, which represents a premium of approximately 49 percent over the company’s closing stock price on October 30, 2017, immediately prior to the announcement that the company’s board of directors initiated a process to evaluate strategic and financial alternatives focused on maximizing stockholder value. The Rent-A-Center board has unanimously approved the transaction and recommends that stockholders vote in favor of the transaction. Upon completion of the transaction, Rent-A-Center will become a privately held company and its common shares will no longer be listed on any public market.

“The Rent-A-Center board, having just completed a comprehensive review of strategic and financial alternatives in consultation with outside legal and financial advisors, unanimously supports this transaction and is confident it maximizes value for stockholders while delivering a significant and immediate cash premium,” says Chief Executive Officer of Rent-A-Center Mitch Fadel. “The exciting announcement reflects the significant progress we have made to materially improve our performance and would not have been possible without the hard work and focus of our talented co-workers over the last several months. Vintage is a natural partner for Rent-A-Center given its deep knowledge of the rent-to-own industry, and we look forward to partnering with them to realize the full benefits of the transaction.”

“We have long admired Rent-A-Center and are pleased to have reached this agreement to expand our rent-to-own portfolio,” says Managing Member and Founder of Vintage Capital and Chairman of the Board of Members of Buddy’s Newco, LLC dba Buddy’s Home Furnishings Brian R. Kahn. “We believe that the combination of Rent-A-Center, Buddy’s and Vintage is a compelling opportunity to utilize our resources and expertise to enhance value and create a leader in the rent-to-own industry.”

J.P. Morgan Securities LLC is acting as the exclusive financial advisor to Rent-A-Center and provided a fairness opinion to the Rent-A-Center board of directors. Winston & Strawn LLP is serving as legal advisor to Rent-A-Center, and Sullivan & Cromwell LLP is serving as legal advisor to the Rent-A-Center Board of Directors.

Riley FBR, Inc. is serving as financial advisor and lead arranger and Guggenheim Corporate Funding LLC is serving as administrative agent and joint lead arranger. Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, Professional Corporation is serving as legal advisor to Vintage.

 

2018 MRDA Bass Fishing Tournament

The Missouri Rental Dealers Association wrapped its three-day annual regional trade show and seminar on Thursday, June 14. More than 140 rental dealers and 15 vendor companies from five states in the Midwest gathered in Lake of the Ozarks for networking, educational product seminars, golf and bass fishing tournaments, an awards banquet and a trade show offering MRDA exclusive specials.

At the awards banquet, MRDA President John Cleek, Jr., welcomed attendees and introduced the state associations board members: Aaron Windsor, Vice President; Scott Mitchell, Secretary/Treasurer; Cindy Boyers, “Tiger” John Cleek, Dan Cole, Mark Connelly, Kevin Hollaway, Macy Mitchell, Tom Moore, Jerry Pinkley, Gary Romine, Joe Laney, Tim Mayer, Kevin Walker and Mark Windsor. Cleek made a special recognition honoring former board member Chuck Kuluva for his dedication to the association and the industry. Kuluva announced retirement early this year and has sold his company, Rental City Inc., to industry veteran Rick Rineberg.

Dennis Shields, John Cleek, Jr., Jill McClure, Kelly McClellan and John Blair

Also at the banquet, Show Me RTO Owner, MRDA Past President, APRO Past President Senator (District 3) Gary Romine provided a Missouri state of the industry update and discussed the importance of government relations on a local level. MRDA keynote speaker, APRO Executive Director Jill McClure shared details about the inaugural RTO World 2018: The National Rent-To-Own Convention and Trade Show August 21-23 in St. Louis along with an update on APRO’s legislative monitoring, strategic planning and the APRO Education Scholarship Fund.

Heather, Thomas and John Cleek, Jr.

Cleek closed with a special announcement notifying attendees that Ken Steiner has decided not to retire at this time, and will continue to serve the state association in his role as MRDA Executive Director. “This guy right here—does a lot of work to make this event everything that it is,” says Cleek. “Without him, this event would not be possible. Thank you, Ken, for everything you do.”

Click here to see more photos of the 2018 MRDA Heartland of America Regional Trade Show and Seminar.

Golf Tournament Winners

1st Place: Thomas Cleek, James Evans, Langley Johnson and Gary Romine
Closest to Pin: Mark Windsor
Women’s Longest Drive: Kathy Windsor
Men’s Longest Drive: Thomas Cleek
Longest Putt: Thomas Cleek
Closest to Pin: Paul Gibbons

Bass Fishing Tournament Winners

1st Place: Dan Cole and Steve Braning
4 keepers; 7.18 lb total weight

2nd Place: Ron Reyering and Vic Lombardo
4 keepers; 4.35 lb total weight

3rd Place: Tiger Cleek and John Cleek, Jr.
2 keepers; 2.84 lb total weight

4th Place: Bruce Manning and Shawn Oligschlaeger
2 keepers; 2.69 lb total weight

 

APRO’s Code of Ethics was created when the association was formed in 1980 as part of an effort to organize the industry against legislative threats at the time. APRO’s first members wrote the code of ethics to establish a set of guidelines consistent with what they felt should be the industry’s values and ethical standards. These 14 Code of Ethics are still the defining guidance that APRO members agree upon to maintain a healthy business environment. In April, the APRO Board of Directors identified reconfirming these Code of Ethics as a priority during their Strategic Planning meeting, and as a result, APRO will feature a series of articles to familiarize and reconfirm each of these ethical standards with membership.

Members shall develop and encourage the practice of high standards of personal and professional conduct among themselves.

Everyone has been on the receiving end of poor professional conduct at some point in their lives or careers. Whether it’s a minor mishap like not getting a straw with your soft drink or a major catastrophe like being berated by your boss in front of customers and coworkers, unprofessional behavior reflects poorly on the individual, the business they represent, and by extension, on the larger entity they are associated with.

This is particularly true in the Rental Industry, where customers are never obligated to keep making payments to you and, yet, satisfied, recurring customers are key to your profits.  Rental customers must be willing to keep coming back to you week after week, month after month if you are going to prosper, and the way your store interacts with them is one of the most factors that will determine whether they renew with you or start doing business with someone else. If customers have an unprofessional experience in your store, their dollars are more likely to be deposited in your competitor’s bank account than yours.

It is also in your best interest to promote personal and professional conduct among other APRO members because your business is dependent on the reputation of the larger RTO industry. When even one store practices unprofessional conduct, that bad reputation can blemish everyone else in the industry by association. Article 2 of APRO’s Code of Ethics was created to promote and encourage a positive reputation, thereby promoting the health of the overall industry by extension.

Here are a few helpful links on personal and professional conduct that you and your staff might find helpful in your professional development efforts.

Click here to read the last feature, APRO’s Code of Ethics: A Closer Look.

APRO, the official voice of the diverse and dynamic Rent-to-Own industry, has partnered with TRIB Group, the oldest and largest non-profit RTO-specific buying cooperative, to present RTO World 2018. This joint convention and trade show will be the marquee industry event of the year, attracting a veritable who’s who of the rent-to-own universe.

More than 500 rent-to-own professionals from across the country are expected to converge August 21-23 in St. Louis, Missouri, looking for networking opportunities, education and to learn about and purchase the latest products and services available to rent-to-own dealers. As a vendor, RTO World will be the event to attend if you are looking to launch new products, land new clients and engage face-to-face with buyers in this expanding industry.

There are many sponsorship opportunities to choose from such as the APRO Awards Luncheon and Business Meeting, the Exhibit Hall Lunch, RTO Education Sessions and more. Click here to get a full review of what is available and the benefits for each. 

Don’t miss the opportunity to profit at the biggest rent-to-own event of the year!

For more information on sponsorships and/or exhibiting, contact Tony Pintarelli at 800/204-2776, ext. 107, tpintarelli@rtohq.org.

President’s Party at the 2017 Heartland of America Regional Trade Show and Seminar.

The Missouri Rental Dealers Association will meet next Tuesday, June 12 through Wednesday, June 14 at The Lodge of Four Seasons Resort in Lake Ozark, Missouri, for its 14th Annual Heartland of American Regional Trade Show and Seminar. MRDA President John Cleek, Jr. announced this week that all vendor booths have sold out and encourages any rental dealer companies to attend the event.

“We have sold our maximum capacity of 70 booths once again and appreciate the vendor’s support. This will be an awesome vendor showcase with products in the booths and show
specials!” says Cleek.

If a dealer has not attended for years or this will be their first time, MRDA will pay for 1 night’s lodging. The dealer must be a member in good standing of their state association. This is for all states, not just Missouri as this is a regional show and MRDA is encouraging all dealers to attend.

Attendees will have the opportunity to network with fellow dealers, take advantage of show specials at the vendor showcase, learn at the vendor product trading seminars and enjoy the golf and bass tournaments. Attendee registration covers all meals.

Click here for more details on how to register for the event, or contact MRDA Executive Director, Ken Steiner at steineraa@aol.com, or call 573/489-0622. Advanced registration is highly encouraged.

Ashley Furniture and the Memphis Tigers Football Team recently hosted a Hope to Dream event, giving a new bed set to 100 children in the Memphis area.

Ashley Furniture and the Memphis Tigers Football Team recently hosted a Hope to Dream event, giving a new bed set to 100 children in the Memphis area. Each bed set included a twin mattress set, pillow, sheets and comforter. The receiving children were selected through Ashley’s Hope to Dream program and local community partners in Memphis.

The event was held at the Billy J Murphy Athletic Complex on the University of Memphis Campus. Representatives from the Memphis Tigers and Ashley executives spoke at the event. The event included engaging activities such as fun football drills, a facility tour, photo booth, food, and gift bags for each of the children provided by Ashley and the Memphis Tigers.

Chad Spencer, President of the Dufresne Spencer Group, the largest licensee of Ashley HomeStores, is passionate about this program and is excited to bring this event back to Memphis for the 4th consecutive year. “We can have the greatest product at the best price, but if we don’t serve the guest and give back to the community that supports us, we are spiritually bankrupt as a company. That’s why events like this and Hope to Dream are so important to us at Ashley,” says Spencer.

Hope to Dream is an initiative started by Ashley Furniture in 2010 to provide beds to children in the community who do not have one to call their own. A portion of all mattress sales goes toward supporting the Hope to Dream program. Since its inception, more than 50,000 children have received a brand-new bed.

The Tennessee Rental Dealers Association will meet for its annual association meeting at the Nashville DoubleTree Hotel Downtown on June 26 and 27 in Nashville, Tennessee. TRDA members and vendors can arrive on the afternoon of Tuesday, June 26, check in and enjoy a group dinner in the downtown area. Rental dealers from other states who are members of their state’s RTO associations are also welcome to attend.

The TRDA meeting will begin on the morning of Wednesday, June 27, with an industry-specific informative agenda and special guests including Rent One President Trent Agin, Countryside Rentals President Mike Tissot and APRO General Counsel Ed Winn III from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Also on the agenda is the election and/or re-election of two board seats.

Membership dues for the TRDA are $100 per store or $100 for vendors, per vendor company. For more information about TRDA, how to join, or about registering for the annual meeting, contact Chris Bolin at 931/906-2066, bolinrto@cdelightband.net.

APRO’s Code of Ethics was created when the association was formed in 1980 as part of an effort to organize the industry against legislative threats at the time. APRO’s first members wrote the code of ethics to establish a set of guidelines consistent with what they felt should be the industry’s values and ethical standards. These 14 Code of Ethics are still the defining guidance that APRO members agree upon to maintain a healthy business environment. In April, the APRO Board of Directors identified reconfirming these Code of Ethics as a priority during their Strategic Planning meeting, and as a result, APRO will feature a series of articles to familiarize and reconfirm each of these ethical standards with membership.

Members shall abide by the Articles of Incorporation and the Bylaws of the Association.

APRO’s Articles of Incorporation were signed by Texas Secretary of State George Strake Jr., in October of 1980, officially establishing APRO as a nonprofit corporation and lists seven founding articles.  Articles 1 to 5 give the name, non-profit status, duration (perpetual), purpose and initial registration of office and agent (Edward Win III, also the first executive director) for the association.  Article 6 names the founding APRO Board of Directors as Edward Winn III, James Damron, and Henry Ryan III and article 7 lists the street address.

Click here for the full list of APRO Articles of Incorporation.

APRO’s Bylaws were also created in 1980 when the association was formed and then amended once again in 2009. The bylaws establish a standard by which the industry is to conduct its business, and includes a mission statement to keep focus on the organization’s clear purpose:  APRO is committed to being the national rental-purpose trade association by providing valuable member benefits, maintaining a benevolent business climate and promoting professionalism in the industry with responsibility and integrity.

In addition to establishing the association’s name, nonprofit status and where it was to be physically located (Austin, Texas), the bylaws include 17 foundational articles, covering everything from APRO’s purpose, its annual dues, the frequency of member meetings (annually) and establishing the details governing its board of directors and special committees.

Click here for the full list of APRO Bylaws.

 

Rent One will host a BBQ college fundraiser for longtime friend and APRO scholarship recipient Javontay Moss on Saturyday, June 9 in Mount Vernon, Illinois.

St. Louis-based Rent One will host a BBQ college fundraiser for a longtime friend and APRO scholarship recipient Javontay Moss at Dr. and Marilyn Parks’ Farm on Saturday, June 9, in Mount Vernon, Illinois. Rent One’s Employee Development Director David Keen has been Moss’ Big Brother through the Big Brothers Big Sisters of American program for 15 years and hopes the donations received will help cut costs for college tuition.

Moss will be attending his third year at the University of Southern Indiana where he has accepted a job as a Resident Assistant. Thus far he has accumulated zero student loans and Rent One hopes to offset any expenses he will have during his Junior year in school. Upon graduation, Moss plans to enter the Ministry and attend seminary school. He will spend the remainder of the summer working as a Youth Minister at the Pleasant Hill Baptist Church until he returns to school in the Fall.

For those who wish to donate to the college fundraiser, contact David Keen at dkeen@shoprentone.com or 618/316-9502.