Communication goes both ways, so make sure to let APRO know of any events – either past or future – you would like publicized. If you have recent community outreach, new recognitions, store promotions or staff changes you want to share, then please send some info our way! We happily accept press releases, photographs and videos, and would love to get your good-news word out to your rent-to-own colleagues and other media outlets.

To submit your news, contact APRO at or 800/204-2776.

USMC Sergeant John Rankel, son of American Rental’s Kevin Rankel, inducted into the Indiana Military Veterans Hall of Fame

Kevin Rankel – Chief Executive Officer and Company Secretary of Full-O-Pep Appliances, Inc., dba American Rental – had a dream of his son, USMC Sergeant John Rankel, being inducted into the Indiana Military Veterans Hall of Fame … and last month, that dream came true.

Sgt. Rankel was one of 21 classmates selected for the honor. “We were overjoyed,” says proud father Kevin. “We’d been waiting on this level of recognition to happen, and it means the world to us.” This year’s inductees join only 62 other veterans total as members of this prestigious group.

John Rankel was killed on June 7, 2010, while serving with the U.S. Marine Corps in Afghanistan. He joined the Marines following graduation, working his way up to the rank of sergeant by the age of 23. During his first four-year stint as a Marine, Rankel’s unit – the 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force – was deployed twice to Iraq. He re-enlisted when he learned his unit was going to deploy to Afghanistan.

During his service, Sergeant Rankel received multiple Combat Action ribbons, the Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, the Afghanistan and Iraq campaign medals, multiple Sea Service Deployment ribbons, and the Global War on Terrorism and National Defense Service medals, as well as three individual certificates of commendation.

“We feel John’s story is very worthy of induction, and fortunately this year, the committee agreed,” says Kevin.

The Indiana Military Veterans Hall of Fame was founded in 2013, and is chaired by Russ Dowden, a retired U.S. Army Colonel.The organization’s vision is to recognize outstanding service by Indiana veterans. Veterans must be nominated for the Hall of Fame and are considered based on two categories – valor on the battlefield, and additional contributions to veterans after their military careers.

“We’ve been trying to get John inducted since the Hall of Fame was created,” Kevin Rankel notes. “It was a very emotional day.”

Click here for more information about the Indiana Military Veterans Hall of Fame.

Pennsylvania-based Majik Rent To Own recently held an employee-driven effort to support their city through donations to the Extraordinary Give. The Extraordinary Give is a one-day virtual fundraising event designed to support community causes, such as health care, education, housing and more. This year, Majik owner Dan Fisher offered his employees the opportunity to participate by either using their “You Earned It” employee rewards program points, or deducting from their paychecks to contribute. Majik pledged to match every employee donation times four; at the end of day, the company had contributed a total of more than $7,000.

“While I have my own charitable causes that I support privately, I really love this type of an event because it allows our co-workers to select their charity of choice and it amplifies their giving,” Fisher shares. “It made them feel good, and made me feel terrifically proud to lead such a group of giving people.”

For years, Majik has included a donation option in its “You Earned It” rewards program, so employees can support charitable causes, such as disaster relief or various nonprofits, and Majik matches whatever amount they donate. This year, employees could also opt to contribute a cash amount deducted from their upcoming paycheck. “I was really proud so many of our co-workers donated their hard-earned rewards points and pay to such a great cause,” affirms Fisher.

Click here to learn more about The Extraordinary Give.

Pictured left to right: RentDirect Director Bruce Manning, APRO Executive Director Jill McClure, APRO General Counsel Ed Winn III, and Nationwide Marketing Group VP of Appliances Patrick Maloney.

Earlier this week, Nationwide Marketing Group Vice President of Appliances Patrick Maloney and RentDirect Director Bruce Manning stopped by APRO headquarters in Austin, Texas, for a visit.

Thank you for spending some time with us to learn more about APRO’s work and benefits, and to help us learn more about Nationwide RentDirect’s many marketing services!

James Bond, Tony Farrell, Joe Gazzo and John Blair present $5,000 to the American Legion of Panama City, FL.

APRO Members PTS Financial Services and Buddy’s Home Furnishings recently partnered to contribute $5,000 to the American Legion of Panama City, FL, in the wake of the town’s devastation from Hurricane Michael. PTS Financial’s John Blair and Tony Farrell, along with Buddy’s James Bond, Joe Gazzo and Mike Zajar, toured the area before presenting their donation – which will be used to help veterans displaced by the storm – to the organization’s officers. “Please help veterans and their families in this community,” requested Farrell as he presented the check to the American Legion Commander.

The group toured the area before presenting their donation

Just days prior, PTS Financial announced the launch of Operation Hire a Vet, a new initiative designed to encourage rent-to-own companies to fill open positions with qualified armed-service veterans.

Click here for more information on the American Legion.

Click here or more information on Operation Hire a Vet.

Jess Fisher – a longtime APRO Member and owner of Kansas-based Mustang Enterprises Inc., dba Hometown Sales Lease – is probably feeling some fatherly pride as his daughter, Michelle Mason Rudolph, pays it forward this holiday season with Treats for the Troops.

Inspired by her two sons, deployed to Turkey and Romania, Michelle created this nonprofit, dedicated to delivering a taste of home via baked goods to soldiers around the world, in 2017. Over the past year-and-a-half, many good community samaritans have joined the cause to contribute flour, sugar, baking supplies, and funding to help cover shipping costs. Generous donations from Advertising Images, Arkansas City, Hometown Rental Purchase, NCTV, and West Kansas Avenue Church of God have helped keep Michelle’s vision moving forward. Elementary-school students have written cards and letters to include in packages, and the Jobs for America’s Graduates program at Augusta High School is helping in the kitchen. The organization won the 2017 Pay It Forward Award, along with a $500 cash prize, for its work.

Last year, Treats for the Troops made more than 3,000 baked goods, and shipped more than 40 boxes over Thanksgiving and Christmas – at a shipping fee of more than $650. This year, the organization has a recipient list of 25 deployed soldiers, and the list continues to grow. If you want to nominate a soldier to receive a goodie box, just click here, or to learn more about Treat for Troops, visit their Facebook Group, Treats for the Troops No-profit, or feel free to contact Michelle Rudolph at

To contribute to Treat for the Troops, just click here, or mail a check payable to Michelle Rudolph to Hometown Sales Lease, 600 N. Walnut, Augusta, KS 67010.


Vice President Mike Pence, Gopal Reddy and U.S. Representative Rodney Davis (IL-13)

APRO board member and Illinois Rental Dealer Association (IRDA) member Gopal Reddy recently attended – alongside Vice President Mike Pence – a pre-midterm-election fundraising event for U.S. Representative Rodney Davis (IL-13), in Springfield. The Vice President urged his supporters to vote for the incumbent Congressman – and Davis did secure a fourth term, defeating Democrat Betsy Dirksen Londrigan. “These are PAC [political action committee] dollars at work!” Reddy affirmed.

Reddy and the IRDA have formed a solid bond with Representative Davis since his initial election to the U.S. House in 2013. APRO members have held annual one-on-one meetings in Davis’ office on Capitol Hill during APRO’s Legislative Conference, helping bring understanding and awareness about the rent-to-own industry to Congressional members. Davis has also visited some RTO stores and, as a strong supporter of small businesses, sees value in the rent-to-own transaction.

As the official voice of the rent-to-own industry, an essential element in APRO’s mission is to protect your business. The APRO-PAC Fund helps candidates who support our industry run for political office. Over the past three decades, many federal bills have been introduced that would have crippled or destroyed RTO, and in every case, these measures have been thwarted with the help of Congressional supporters.

To learn more about the APRO-PAC Fund and how you can contribute, please contact APRO at or 800/204-2776.

The Winter 2018 issue of RTOHQ: The Magazine reflects a familial feel with two APROfiles on RTO pro’s: Sharon Tomaszewski, a second-generation rent-to-own operator helping guide and protect the industry like family; and Bill French, an industry leader with almost a half-century of distribution sales accredits his caring approach to not only his, but his colleague’s success.

RTO World 2018, the first-ever APRO and TRIB Group collaboration on a national rent-to-own convention and trade show, was held this past August in St. Louis, Missouri. More than 700 attendees participated in the inaugural event, which included plenty of momentous firsts for everyone. Jump over to page 38 for a scrapbook of highlights of the industry’s biggest event of the year.

In our feature, “Heads and Tails,” we take a deep dive into trade associations and buying groups. We cover the differences and benefits between the two types of organizations, and as you might suspect, they both provide value while playing very different roles in your success.

Also in this issue, we cover a double dose of tax tidbits—APRO General Counsel Ed Winn III provides a legal update on taxing transactions on the internet, while APRO associate members, CPA’s Kim Cardenas and Mike Helton of Rivero, Gordimer & Company P.A., prepare you for tax planning with the top 15 tax strategies.

Click here to read the entire Winter 2018 issue of RTOHQ: The Magazine.

The first-ever RTO World held in St. Louis in August was a resounding success – can you believe it’s already time to begin putting together the sequel? Yes, the time is now, and you can play a key role in our industry’s biggest event of the year by sharing your experience and expertise with your colleagues!

Call for Presentations RTO World 2019 – Deadline: January 31, 2019

Do you have ideas for compelling content for the RTO World 2019 education sessions? Gather them together and let us know! If you are interested in being a speaker at our national conference – scheduled for August 6-8th in Louisville, KY – then follow these instructions, and apply. A committee of industry leaders will review all submissions and determine which ones best meet our needs for the 2019 convention.

Presentations will be reviewed and ranked based upon the following criteria:

  • Relevance to attendees
  • Creativity in content and presentation style
  • Presenter’s communication skill and style

Presentation formats may be with 1) an individual presenter, 2) a pair of co-presenters, or 3) up to three panelists with a moderator.

Please submit the following information in your speaker application packet no later than January 31, 2019 to

Presenter bio(s) – 200 words or fewer (required)

  •  Current title and company
  • Years in industry
  • Credentials/training
  • Something interesting about you (non-work related – family, hobbies, achievements, etc.)

Session description (required)

  •  250-500 words total
  • An introductory summary (150 words or fewer), bulleted specific learning outcomes, compelling audience questions, and the presentation format – do NOT include bios in the session description.

Professional headshot(s) (required)

  • High-resolution, print-ready
  • Minimum 300 dpi at 100% size
  • EPS, JPG, TIFF formats accepted

Speaker expectations (required)

  • All set-up requirements, audio/visual requirements, and any additional items you will need for your presentation, such as flip charts or white boards
  • If you require travel reimbursement or an honorarium to present, then include this information. The review committee will select presentations that fit within the overall budget for the event; they may or may not have access to limited funds for travel reimbursement or honorariums.

Video or voice recording of presenter (preferred)

  • Online link (YouTube or other site) – CDs, DVDs, etc. will NOT be accepted

Additional materials (optional)

  • Sample slides, visual aids, handouts, etc.
  • Resource articles related to your topic

If you have questions, concerns, or just want more info, please contact us at 800/204-2776 or

APRO Member Hometown Rent To Own will be giving out free Thanksgiving Feasts to local families in need. Photo by Deb Everts

APRO Member Hometown Rent To Own will be giving out free Thanksgiving Feasts – the fixings for 150 – 200 full holiday meals – to local families in need. The event, scheduled for this Friday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Hometown store in Salamanca, NY, is open to the public. Participants may choose the foods they want, including mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, green beans, stuffing and dinner rolls. Participants will also be given a gift card to Sander’s Markets Parkview, where they can pick up a turkey.

This is the third year Hometown has held this event as a thank-you for its supportive community. Co-owners Christopher Fiegl and Matthew Radecki founded the company four years ago, and Salamanca has helped the business flourish.

“We just want to give back to the community that has done so much for us and made us an overnight success,” says Radecki. “From the time we got the keys and filled up with inventory, we have literally had a line of customers out the door. Thanks to Salamanca, we knew our business was going to work from the very first year.”

Local radio station MIX 101.5 FM will host a live broadcast as the company distributes the Feasts from their storefront and holds several other giveaways during the event.

“The holiday season is especially hard for many people who just can’t afford a big to-do, so we like to help bring families together each year with this event,” Radecki shares. “Last year was a great success, and we hope to keep it growing every year to help more and more people within our community.”

Click here for article about the event from local newspaper The Post-Journal.