The APRO Board of Directors met in early April in Austin, Texas, for the organization’s strategic planning retreat.

The APRO Board of Directors met in early April in Austin, Texas, for the organization’s strategic planning retreat. Directors reflected on recent events and accomplishments, discussed the future of the RTO industry, and prioritized the goals of the association in its role to support members.

Robbie Kamerschen at the APRO strategic planning retreat

Those in attendance were Louis Garcia, David Harrison, Chris Kale, Sr., Jonathan Rose, Trent Agin, Mark Connelly, Dennis Adams, David P. David, Robbie Kamerschen, Gopal Reddy, Jamie Slatton, Chas Smithgall and Bill French, along with APRO Executive Director Jill McClure and APRO General Counsel Ed Winn.

APRO’s last strategic planning retreat has held in 2004. More details on the outcome of the planning will be shared in coming weeks.

ARDA’s newly elected board of directors Candice Hill, Rachel Pearson, Terah Vail and Kayla Milner.

The Arkansas Rental Dealers Association met in Little Rock, Arkansas, on April 11 for its annual association meeting at the Crown Plaza Hotel. New ARDA officers and a new board of directors were elected at the meeting.

Newly elected ARDA President Terah Vail is excited about the direction of the association and eager to get to work with other Arkansas rental dealers, “We’ve got a great group here and we’re excited about the upcoming year,” says Vail. “We’re putting together a social time for members to get together at RTO World 2018 in August.”

ARDA was established in April 1987 as a nonprofit organization to promote and advance the mutual interests of its members, to provide networking opportunities for other rental dealers and vendors, to keep the membership informed, to educate customers on the benefits of the rent-to-own industry, and to promote ethical practices and goodwill within the rental-purchase community.

Vendor Representative Wally Moon and Candace Hill

Standard ARDA annual dues are $200 per store for up to 20 stores and if an RTO dealer has more than 20 stores, payment is $50 for each additional store thereafter. Annual membership for vendors is $200. However, effective immediately, new 2018-2019 ARDA members will receive a 50% discount. Annual dues for first time members are $100 up to 20 stores, and $25 per store after that.

ARDA’s newly elected board of directors are Terah Vail, president; Candace Hill, vice president; Rachel Pearson, treasurer; Kayla Milner, secretary; Wally Moon, vendor representative; and board members Brandon Cummings and Jose Palacios.

The date for next year’s ARDA meeting is set for Wednesday, April 10, 2019.  Click here for more information about ARDA.

The Pennsylvania Rental Dealers Association will meet for its annual association meeting May 15, 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. at the Harrisburg Hilton in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The meeting is open to PARD members, members of other state associations or anyone with rent-to-own stores in Pennsylvania. PARD seeks to form a legislative committee at this meeting with the intention of scheduling a fall meeting with elected officials.

PARD was reorganized and reactivated in 2006 and has hosted annual meetings since focusing on educating members on various industry-related topics as well as hosting various guest speakers. This year’s meeting will feature President of Countryside Rentals and President of the Ohio Rental Dealer’s Association Mike Tissot,  Rivero, Gordimer & Company CPA Michael Helton and Rent-A-Center Store Manager Keith Brock.

PARD membership dues are $35 per store and $150 for vendors. A block of discounted rooms is available at $149 if reserved by April 14. To make reservations online, click here and enter the code PARD. For more information about PARD, how to join or about registering for the annual meeting, contact association President Sandi Frye at 814/949-2300, altoonapremier@gmail.com.

The Premier Companies recently announced the opening of its newest location in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The new store is owned by APRO member and 2014 Premier Dealer of the Year recipient David Bauer. This is Bauer’s second Premier store, the first opened in December 2007 and is located in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Bauer attributes the notion of, “hire right, train right and treat right,” to his success.  He is comfortable with the Harrisburg store’s achievements over the years and has the confidence in his staff to take on the reins while he focuses on the new store in Lancaster.

“My staff, along with Premier programs and support, has been instrumental in helping me achieve my goals,” says Bauer. “I appreciate that I can make decisions on my own, focusing on the personal needs of my customers without being restricted by corporate policies. However, I take advantage of the support corporate offers so that I can focus on my business and what I do best.”

Bauer expects to open another Premier Rental-Purchase within five years.

Anstadt Communications, parent company to longtime APRO associate member Central File Marketing, recently announced the addition of two new hires, Craig Martin and Karly Young. The company introduced two new positions, director of business development and marketing and creative director, as a result of growth and a focus on brand strategy.

Martin, director of business development and marketing, is a graduate of the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts. He most recently served as senior marketing specialists at Rent-A-Center where he oversaw the company’s in-store and point of purchase operations. Martin has also been in various marketing roles at Samsung Electronics and GROUP360 Worldwide.

Young, creative director, is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University in State College, Pennsylvania, and The Portfolio Center in Atlanta, Georgia. She served as creative director at IDI Gazeley and held previous graphic design and brand development roles at the Recall Corporation, The Partnership of Atlanta and Melia Design Group.

“Craig and Karly bring a wealth of business development, marketing and branding experience to the Anstadt Company,” says Chief Executive Officer Matthew Doran. “We are thrilled to have them join us and are confident that they will put us in a great position to add significant skills and expertise to our team. They will be instrumental in building upon our brand and market value for our clients, while continually exceeding their expectations in creative and innovative ways.

Anstadt Communications is an integrated marketing and graphics communications company with a 139-year history. It acquired Central File Marketing November of last year and through the acquisition, Central File customers will benefit from the support and innovative offerings such as the new talents Martin and Young bring to the company.

New Premier Rental-Purchase franchisees Walt and Laurie Ulbricht

The Premier Companies recently announced the opening of its newest location in Newport News, Virginia. The new store is owned by APRO member and Rent-to-Own veteran Walt Ulbricht.

Ulbricht opens his first RTO store with more than 30 years of industry experience. Having worked at Bestway, Hometown Rentals and most recently at Rent-A-Center as District Manager, he and his wife Laurie wanted to operate their own store and be face-to-face with customers.

“I wanted to get out of the corporate world and have my own business, a family business,” says Ulbricht. “Premier was very attractive to me because of all the different areas of support.”

Premier Rental-Purchase in Newport News hosted its grand opening March 23-25 and the Ulbricht’s are excited about their new venture and look forward to being a part of the Premier Companies and its community.

 

Buddy’s Home Furnishings 2018 Annual Leadership Conference award winners

Buddy’s Home Furnishings recently held its Annual Leadership Conference at the Loews Royal Pacific Resort in Orlando, Florida. The event highlighted the success of the “Buddy’s System,” a field tested, data driven system of connecting products with consumers that outperforms the industry.

“Success in today’s environment demands precise planning and execution,” says Chief Operating Officer of NewCo LLC., parent company of Buddy’s Michael Bennet. “Our commitment to franchisees is to provide a proven, unified model that integrates purchasing, marketing and operations.”

The general session and breakout sessions focused on sharing data from every segment of the Buddy’s System. The data shows that stores following the system consistently outperform those that do not. Over the past year, Buddy’s Marketing Team has developed systems that automatically track inventory throughout its life and drives marketing at every turn. Bennett explains, “From purchase to first rental to exit, the Buddy’s System never loses sight of its primary objective – maximizing return on investment.”

Buddy’s COO Michael Bennet with Company of the Year Award winner Tom Tucker of Pentex.

Buddy’s Purchasing Department organized a 30,000 square foot trade show with over 40 vendors. “This was our largest show to date and our vendor-partners knocked it out of the park,” shares Bennett. Orders written at the event grew 200% over 2017.

The company also held its annual Peak Performance Awards Dinner where attendees were treated to a Polynesian luau and fire show. “Recognizing the best of the best is one of my greatest honors,” says Bennett. Company of the Year Award was presented to Buddy’s franchisee Tom Tucker of Pentex. Pentex regional manager Aaron Hembree took Region of the Year. Store of the Year was presented to Pentex General Manager Corry Bradford.

Buddy’s Community Service Award was presented to Franchise Consultant Sabino Milner for his support of Buddy’s associates in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. In presenting this special award, Bennett says, “Sabino knew hotels in the area would be scarce but he was loading up with water, food and other supplies and would sleep in his car if necessary. The entire Buddy’s family owes thanks to Sabino for his efforts and for the example he sets for others.”

Click here to see more photos of Buddy’s Home Furnishings 2018 Annual Leadership Conference.

Shannon Strunk Crowned King of Joy at 2018 YMBC Coronation Ball

Longtime APRO member and Baber’s Inc. President Shannon Strunk was crowned King of Joy LXXIX at the 2018 Young Men’s Business Club (YMBC) Coronation Ball in February at the Jackson County Civic Center in Pascagoula, Mississippi. The prestigious ceremony is held in part of Mardi Gras events and recognizes outstanding residents of Jackson County, Mississippi who have made meaningful contributions to the community through professional, civic or personal impacts.

The first ceremony was held 83 years ago in 1935 and has since been held each year with the exceptions of 1943-1945 during WWII, 1951 during the Korean War and 2006 after Hurricane Katrina. The crowning ceremony is a highly anticipated event each year as the identity of the King and Crown remains secret until the unmasking at the coronation.

Shannon and Cynthia Strunk with family at the 2018 Young Men’s Business Club Coronation Ball where he was crowned King of Joy LXXIX in February.

Strunk was selected as this year’s King for his efforts to help make Jackson County an even better place to live and work by investing and growing businesses in the county cities of Pascagoula, Moss Point, Gautier and Ocean Springs as well as his professional accomplishments in the rent-to-own industry.

An estimated 1500 Jackson County citizens and other guests attended the Coronation event.

The Kansas Rental Dealers Association will meet for its annual association meeting at the Kansas Star Casino on April 24-25 in Mulvane, Kansas. The meeting is open to KRDA members, members of other state associations or anyone with Rent-to-own stores in Kansas. Two board of directors’ seats will be elected at the annual meeting.

KRDA was established in 2007 as a nonprofit organization and then restructured in 2010. The association established a scholarship program in 2015 that is administered by APRO and is available to members, employees and children of employees. The deadline for membership dues is April 17 and is $100 per store. Dues for existing members will also be accepted at the annual KRDA meeting on April 24.

A block of discounted rooms are available at $89 if reserved by April 6. To make reservations online, click here. For more information about KRDA, how to join or about registering for the annual meeting, contact Ken Steiner at 573-489-0622, steineraa@aol.com.

RNR Tire Express, the fastest-growing tire and custom wheel franchise in the nation, has signed a franchise deal to bring 16 new locations to parts of Georgia and Alabama over the next six years with plans to open its first location in the next 12 months.

Founded in 2000 by longtime APRO member and rent-to-own veteran Larry Sutton, RNR has carved out a unique niche in the tire and wheel industry with its convenient, no hassle payment plans that fit each customer’s budget. RNR offers and professionally installs high quality tires and custom wheels to a growing underserved market and has established a business model that allows clients to pay off name brand tires and wheels on a weekly or monthly plan that is affordable to them.

“The ongoing trust and determination our franchise owners have dedicated to our brand has truly been the cornerstone to our brand’s mission of being the best tire and wheel concept in America,” shares Sutton.

For more information regarding the RNR franchise opportunity, please visit www.RNRfranchise.com.