Plan now to attend RTO World for the industry’s best training and education, plus an opportunity to visit the trade show with more than 100 exhibitors!


Register by this Friday, June 21, to receive a free RTO World apparel item of your choice – a quarter zip or a hoodie*! Online registration rates increase soon – all rates will increase by $100. 

The RTO World hotel room block is also filling fast! Register for both your hotel and convention now to secure your spot at RTO World.

*not included in Small Batch Managers’ Experience registration.

Session Topics – Dealer/Owner Track

  • 2019 APRO Legal Update – Ed Winn III
  • The Art of Growth: Building Your Customer Base – Mike Tissot
  • Breaking Barriers: 5 Ideas to Create New Revenue Streams and Retain Key Employees –Chris Kale, Sr., Chris Kale, Jr., and Jeff Kale
  • The Climb: Developing Brand Ambassadors –Brian Eckleberry
  • Considerations for Buying & Selling an RTO Company – Troy Garris, Michael E. Helton, and Christopher F. Terrigino
  • Creating Company Culture to Recruit and Retain Top Talent – Kelly Martin
  • Managing Transitions & the Multi-Generational Workforce – Adam Sutton and Larry Sutton
  • Shades of Gray: Wage & Hour Legal Issues for Owners – Brian T. Farrington
  • Strategic Steps to Success: Why Our Business has Grown 27% – Dan Fisher, Joe Luczak, and Scott Waltman

Hear from rent-to-own industry leaders during theDealer/Owners Track on Tuesday, August 6.

Full convention registration also provides access to events throughout convention week including the APRO Awards Luncheon & Business Meeting, Education General Session, the Trade Show, Hot Show & Reception, the Louisville Experience Party, and all meal events held during convention.
Owners/Dealers also have an opportunity for a round table exchange to share common ideas, challenges and solutions through facilitated discussion at the Peer Meetup Session for Owners/Dealers on Tuesday, August 6 at 10:45 a.m.
Additional educational sessions are offered in the Small Batch Managers’ Experience.

For a full overview of education sessions, click here.

The Tennessee Rental Dealers Association [TRDA] will hold its Annual Meeting on June 26 and 27 at the Courtyard Marriott Downtown in Nashville, TN. The event will include a networking lunch, dinner, vendor presentations, and an industry legal update presented by APRO General Counsel Ed Winn III. All state association presidents and TRDA members, as well as their staff, are welcome to attend.

The lunch and group dinner in downtown Nashville will provide an opportunity for attendees to network and get the latest on product reviews and services from vendors in attendance. 

The hotel registration deadline to receive the TRDA rate has passed but for more information and/or to RSVP for the event, contact TRDA President Chris Bolin at 931/906-2066,

Scott Waltman, Director of Employee Development at MAJIK Rent-to-Own, spearheaded a group of employees to participate in a nine-week financial health program to help employees move towards a debt-free life through establishing emergency funds, making debt payments, and relinquishing the dependency on credit cards.

Learning how to end a family’s financial struggles across generations is one of the most life-changing investments a person can make. Majik employee Scott Waltman knew this first hand after completing a course called Financial Peace University (FPU). He was so much a believer that he talked to Majik owner Dan Fisher about offering a financial health course for all of Majik’s employees. “Dan even offered to reimburse the $69 enrollment fee for those that graduated.”

To ensure the MAJIK Rent-to-Own employees were on the path to financial success, Waltman organized video chats, workbook exercises, weekly budget updates, Facebook shout outs, and one-on-one training. “We had 27 people at 10 locations and we worked with them in small teams,” shares Waltman.

MAJIK Rent-to-Own employees tackled financial issues by learning how to erase debt, building a monthly budget, and saving for the future. “The course was offered to all employees and virtually everyone who started, graduated.” says Dan Fisher, APRO Hall of Honor recipient and Owner of MAJIK Rent-to-Own. “ Scott deserves all of the credit for making this happen.”

After the nine weeks, the graduates cut up 29 credit cards, established almost $50,000 in emergency funds, and paid-off approximately $60,000 of debt. Additionally, wills were written, 401(k) contributions were matched at 6%, and meal planning tips were given to establish financial longevity. 

For more information on how MAJIK Rent-to-Own rolled out FPU, contact Scott Waltman at 717/368-6313,

MRDA President Scott Mitchell and MRDA Past President John Cleek, Jr.

The Missouri Rental Dealers Association [MRDA] met this week for its 15th Annual Heartland of America Regional Trade Show and Seminar in Lake Ozark, Missouri. The event’s highly anticipated 4-Man Golf Scramble and Bass Fishing Tournament went, on rain or shine, with record-breaking bass caught. The awards dinner was short and sweet as it coincided with this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs (Go Blues!) but closed with the announcement of new MRDA president Scott Mitchell of All American Rental. After 10 years, the torch was passed from former MRDA president John Cleek, Jr. of Cleek’s Home Furnishings to Mitchell.

“I am extremely proud of the accomplishments that this association has made. During the time that I have served, we have won four APRO State Association of the Year awards, and seven overall since the award was originated in 1991,” shares Cleek. “I very much appreciate all of the board members and vendors and think it’s time for a change. Scott is a great person who runs an outstanding family business. He is a man of high integrity and morals and will do an excellent job in taking this association forward.” Cleek will remain on the MRDA board of directors and serve as immediate past president.

MRDA 2019 attendees kicked off the regional trade show with a President’s Party hosted by outgoing president John Cleek, Jr.

Special guests Gary Romine, Owner of Show Me RTO and Past Missouri State Senator (District 3), and Moriah Eberhart, APRO Member Engagement and Business Development Manager, spoke at the MRDA Dinner. Romine, who has also served as MRDA and APRO president, provided a Missouri state of the industry update and discussed the importance of government relations on a local level. Eberhart introduced herself and thanked the association for the warm welcome. She also shared details about the upcoming RTO World 2019 scheduled for August 6-8 in Louisville along with debuting the APRO Legislative Conference video that included highlights from this year’s conference and the importance of why we go to our nation’s capital year after year.

This year’s event also included product trainings presented by Bill French and Martin “Elvis” Valdez of O’Rourke Sales Company and Dan Anderson, Mike Kays, Gary Jones, Michael Philips, Ron Reyering, Wes Slay and Jamee Thompson of Ashley Furniture. A PAC raffle drawing was held during the three days that gave away thousands of dollars in prizes and gift cards.

Bass Fishing Tournament first place winners Dan Cole and Steve Braning of National RTO.

MRDA’s newly elected and re-elected directors are Scott Micthell, president; Aaron Windsor, vice president; John Cleek, Jr., immediate past president; and board members Michael Bowman, Cindy Boyers, Steve Braning, John “Tiger” Cleek, Sr., Dan Cole, Greg Humphrey, Mary Humphrey, Kevin Hollaway, Macy Mitchell, Curtis Moke, Jerry Pinkley, Rick Rineberg, Gary Romine, Kevin Welker and Mark Windsor.

Click here to see more photos of the 2019 MRDA Heartland of America Regional Trade Show and Seminar.

Golf Tournament Winners

1st Place: Paul Gibbons, Steve Gibbons, Rick Rineberg and Langley Johnson
Closest to Pin: James MacAlpine
Women’s Longest Drive: Ann Cleek
Men’s Longest Drive: Wade Burton
Longest Putt: Daryl Rodeman
Closest to Pin: Wade Burton

Bass Fishing Tournament Winners

1st Place: Dan Cole and Steve Braning
keepers; 17.28 lb total weight

2nd Place: Ron Reyering and Vic Lombardo
6 keepers; 17.27 lb total weight

3rd Place: Michael Key and Michael Phillips
6 keepers; 15.06 lb total weight

4th Place: Aaron Windsor and Brian Beauchamp
6 keepers; 12.83 lb total weight

Biggest Bass: Vic Lombardo
4.13 lbs

Tampa-based RNR Tire Express [RNR] is continuing to expand its national footprint and recently announced that it has identified New York as its next expansion hub with room for 55 locations in the market in the coming years. Targeted development regions across New York State include New York City, Albany-Schenectady, Binghamton, Buffalo, Burlington-Plattsburgh, Elmira, Rochester, Syracuse, Utica, and Watertown.

Founded in 2000 by rent-to-own veteran Larry Sutton, RNR is responding to consumer’s demands for a flexible pay-as-you-go tire and wheel business model. “We are committed to finding the right qualified and business-savvy franchise partners to help fill a void in the marketplace by bringing professionally installed, high-quality tires and custom wheels to the community,” says Sutton. “As the epicenter of small business, New York is known for its positive long-term growth potential making it a perfect fit for the concept. We look forward to meeting face-to-face with qualified franchise prospects looking to make a positive impact on the economy and in their communities.”

RNR currently has 122 locations in 23 states with plans to have 150 locations by the end of 2019.

No Turning Back: The Future of RTO 

Kerry Lebensburger
Chief Revenue Officer
Ashley Furniture Industries

RTO World is proud to announce the 2019 RTO World Opening Keynote Speaker Kerry Lebensburger, Chief Revenue Officer of Ashley Furniture Industries. He will bring his direct and visionary style to RTO World as a keynote speaker.

Lebensburger does not mince words about where he sees the direction of retail going, and in turn, exactly how he sees RTO’s role moving forward. RTO emerged 40 years ago to meet the needs brought on by financial circumstances at the time. Now, the future of RTO will need to adjust to meet the demands of a whole new, broadened audience. The best path ahead for RTO may not be where you are headed, and most definitely is not where we’ve been.  

Join us for a high energy view of the changing rent-to-own landscape from this industry leader and visionary.

Kerry Lebensburger comes with 50 years of experience in his career. In 1993, Kerry moved to Ashley Furniture where he has grown through the ranks to include his current title, Chief Revenue Officer. No one understands the challenges facing the furniture business today better than Lebensburger.

APRO Awards Luncheon & Business Meeting
Tuesday, August 6
12:00 – 1:30 PM

Admission to the APRO Awards Luncheon & Business Meeting is included with full conference registrations.

Click here below for the full event schedule.

The Ohio Rental Dealers Association [ORDA] held its annual meeting last month to hammer out their plans for the rest of 2019. Hot topics of discussion included the upcoming Midwest RTO Training Expo on September 24 and 25 in Columbus, Ohio, the introduction of an Ohio store manager round table, and the re-election of board members.

ORDA President, Mike Tissot, says the association is excited to bring the wildly successful EXPO back to Columbus this year. “There are a few changes to the agenda that will wow the local employees,” says Tissot. “We have also incorporated a few changes to make it even easier on the generously supportive vendors.” The Crowne Plaza North is central to dealers but has limited space for vendors. Vendor registration will open soon and early sign-up is encouraged.

This year, ORDA agreed to introduce a store manager round table in July as a way to energize the workforce in the summer. They also laid the groundwork for RTO business in Ohio and will launch a statewide Facebook page as an internal communications tool within the next few months.

ORDA’s re-elected board of directors are Mike Tissot, president; Keith Ferriman, vice president; Mark Kohler, Treasurer; and Joe Fischer, secretary.

Three-time APRO scholarship recipient and 2019 college graduate Trevor Dobbs

The APRO Education Foundation is now accepting applicants for its 2019 scholarship season. Now in its second decade, the program provides opportunities for rent-to-own professionals and their families to attend college. Trevor Dobbs, a three-time scholarship recipient, is not only a first-generation high school graduate but as of May 2019, he is a first-generation college graduate as well. While pursuing a Bachelor’s of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice from the University of Missouri, Trevor filled his time in college with campus activities, study-abroad programs, and student government positions.

Currently, Trevor is a content writer for The Current newspaper, a marketing agent at the startup, ShiftSmart, and tutors online for Chegg Inc. Dobbs plans to pursue a graduate degree in public administration at Erasmus University, the top-ranked public administration program in the Netherlands, in the fall. The program incorporates elements of business, finance, economics, international relations, political science, and law.

Dobbs credits the APRO Education Foundation for helping him achieve his success thus far. “I would not have been able to make all of this happen without the help of APRO and the RTO community,” says Dobbs, son of Thomas Dobbs, who has worked for the industry for almost a decade.

Dobbs’ story is just one of the dozens that generous donations from the RTO community makes possible. For more than a decade, APRO’s Education Foundation has annually provided scholarships to rent-to-own professionals and their families and the time to apply is now. APRO members have contributed generously to the association’s Scholarship Fund – awarding 325 scholarships totaling $759,000 to date – to help students connected with RTO pursue their college degrees. The deadline to apply is this Friday at 5:00 p.m.

A destroyed apartment complex near Scott Kinnear’s Premier Rental-Purchase housing many of his customers.

Tornadoes tore through the Midwest over the last two weeks impacting metropolitan areas such as Dayton, Ohio. While the death toll from the EF4 tornado in Dayton showed a miraculous zero, the structural damage and physical destruction caused by the storm was devastating.

APRO member, former board member and owner of SRKinnear, Inc. dba Premier Rental-Purchase in Dayton, Ohio, Scott Kinnear, had his store touched with fortunately only minor damage while the nearby apartment complexes, home to many of his customers, were destroyed. These customers will likely relocate long-term due to no commitment to rebuild by the complex owners. “As I drove around bearing witness to the hardest hit communities in Dayton, all any of us here at Premier Rental-Purchase could do was be thankful that no one lost their life,” shares Kinnear.

Sadly, one of his employees, Antuan Thortan, was also affected, being displaced from his home. Thortan was able to recover some of his belongings and is now living with his girlfriend’s parents. Along with losing his home, he and many who experienced the same, have to miss work for a few days. FEMA and other local agencies are responding to immediate needs, but more can always be done.

While finding solace in these times with natural disasters is hard, the RTO Employee Disaster Relief Fund was established to help rent-to-own employees recover in these situations. Since 2005, APRO members have contributed to the fund which has dispersed more than $425,000 to those affected by hurricanes, tornadoes, and fires. Due to the unfortunate frequency of these natural disasters, APRO’s membership is ready to help RTO employees at any time with its established RTO [Relief To Our] Employees Disaster Relief Fund.

If your company is an APRO member, and you or your employee(s) have been affected by a recent natural disaster, you might qualify for assistance. Click here to apply for assistance and APRO staff will contact you.

The Missouri Rental Dealers Association [MRDA] will meet Tuesday, June 11 through Thursday, June 13 at the Lodge of Four Seasons Resort in Lake Ozark, Missouri for its 15th Annual Heartland of America Regional Trade Show and Seminar. MRDA is dedicated to making the 2019 trade show its biggest and best ever. 

MRDA President John Cleek, Jr. announced that vendor booths are completely sold out. “We have 70 booths representing 45 vendor companies! We are still looking for more dealer companies from Missouri and the surrounding states to attend,” he says. The show is targeted for rent-to-own dealers in Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Missouri. Dealers from other states are also welcome to attend.

MRDA is offering one free registration per dealer company if they are a member of their state association. MRDA will also pay for a dealer’s hotel room for one night if they are a first-time attendee or haven’t attended in two years.

Attendees of the three-day event will have the opportunity to network with fellow dealers; talk with local and regional vendors; take advantage of show specials at the vendor showcase; and also learn about products at two vendor training sessions. Ashley Furniture will present one of the product training sessions while the other will be co-presented by O’Rourke Sales and LG Electronics.

The event will also include a vendor showcase reception, a welcome cocktail reception, a bass fishing tournament, a golf tournament, a five-hour vendor showcase, and a dinner and awards banquet. Todd Homberger of Buddy’s Home Furnishings will give the keynote presentation on Thursday morning.

Click here for details on how to register for the event, or contact MRDA Executive Director Ken Steiner at, or call 573/489-0622. Advance registration is encouraged.