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 uphold and improve the integrity of the industry by affirmations of truth and fairness, by building good will and by providing beneficial goods and services to customers and others concerned with the industry.
APRO’s 5th article in its Code of Ethics outlines the importance of integrity, truth and fairness within the industry. Our mission is to deliver outstanding value to our customers, colleagues and communities. This can only be achieved by striving to build goodwill through fair practices and earnestness in business.
APRO’s membership must insist on maintaining the highest ethical standards in daily operations to become trusted partners to our customers, colleagues and communities. We build trust by acting with integrity in everything we do, from offering high quality products to providing beneficial goods and services and ensuring consistency and honesty in our interactions with customers.
This culture must be incubated at all levels of the industry, and all employees should buy in to this ethics policy and reaffirm their commitment to it each year. Addressing ethics throughout your new employee orientation process and throughout the course of your long-term business training plan can pay dividends to both your bottom line and for the overall industry.
RentDirect Nationwide held its 2018 Meeting and Hot Show “No Limits“ last week at The Venetian/Palazzo and Sands Expo in Las Vegas. The event, in conjunction with Nationwide Marketing Group’s Primetime! Show, included more than 190 vendors displaying products and services as well as more than 60 education and vendor product-training workshops.
The event kicked off with an array of regional meetings and informational sessions based on merchandising-specific categories, with separate agendas catered specifically for both members and vendors. Monday’s events were capped off with a keynote address from Admiral William H. McRaven, a retired U.S. Navy Four-Star Admiral and the former Chancellor of the University of Texas System. McRaven was Commander of U.S. Special Operations, commanding the troops that captured Saddam Hussein, rescued Captain Phillips and was credited with developing the plan for the Osama Bin Laden mission in 2011.
Following the keynote, attendees were invited to the PrimeTIme Palooza Reception, where members took advantage of the high-paced auction while enjoying hors d’oeuvres, cocktails and a live band complete with an Elvis impersonator. The night was then capped with a Hot Show auction and reception where members had more opportunities to secure one-of-a-kind deals on products.
Nationwide announced a partnership with Google at this year’s event. Tuesday and Wednesday continued with a number of Nationwide Learning Academies led by Google associates, PrimeTime Expo, and various regional meetings and dinners.
In addition to the buying opportunities offered at the Hot Show and Palooza reception, RentDirect Director, and APRO Associate member Bruce Manning says there was a new focus for its members at this year’s show, “How to bring customers to your store or to your website.”
“In keeping the focus on marketing and bringing customers into the store for our RTO members, we offered free website development,” shares Manning. “RentDirect members received free development of a website plus half the cost for the first six months of maintenance offering more than just deals at our Hot Show in an effort to bring customers back to RTO with digital marketing.”
RentDirect will be exhibiting at RTO World August 21 – 23 in St. Louis, Missouri, highlighting marketing programs offered to grow RTO businesses.
Click here to see more photos of the 2018 RentDirect Nationwide “No Limits” Show.
The APRO Vendor Advisory Committee serves a critical function in addressing APRO suppliers’ needs and issues. The committee sets the direction and helps with many of the specifics of the Rent-to-Own National Convention & Trade Show while providing an important link between vendors and dealers.
Vendor Advisory Committee members serve two-year terms, and one-half of the committee is elected or re-elected by the membership vote each year. During the APRO Annual Vendor Advisory Committee Election at RTO World, an important part of trade association business is conducted in the election of six of those twelve positions.
This year’s nominees are:
- John Blaire, PTS Financial and Benefit Services
- Robert Feliciano, Gemini Sound
- Bill French, O’Rourke Sales
- Micheal Helton, Rivero, Gordimer, & Company, P.A.
- David Kaye, Benefit Marketing Solutions
- Bruce Manning, Nationwide RentDirect
- Marty Smith, RES Accessories
All committee members participate voluntarily and assume responsibility for their expenses for travel and accommodations.
O’Rourke Sales Company recently announced it is now a provider for Electrolux Home Appliances/Frigidaire to the rental industry. APRO Associate Member and Board of Directors Vendor Liaison Bill French says O’Rourke is excited about the new partnership, “Frigidaire offers our rental channel the ability to provide their customers with a high-quality professional appliance product. We are extremely excited to be able to offer the entire Frigidaire product line to all of our rent to own partners.”
O’Rourke Sales Company is a national wholesale distributor with over 50 years of distribution successes in consumer electronics, white goods and high-end appliances. With six strategically located shipping points across the nation, O’Rourke Sales Company is the largest TV supplier to the independent dealer base in the United States market. The company provides products in a variety of areas including divisions in consumer electronics, computers, phones and appliances, and serves a broad customer base including independent retail, E-commerce fulfillment, RTO, buying groups, premium incentive and military channels.
“We are pleased to have Electrolux Home Appliances/Frigidaire join our growing family of quality products,” says O’Rourke Vice President of Appliance Sales Tom Jeffries. “With an easily obtainable freight program that allows for the combination of Frigidaire pieces to ride along with consumer electronics and a two-year parts and labor warranty for our rental market, Frigidaire presents a win-win opportunity for our dealers and their customers.”
The cover story for the summer 2018 issue of RTOHQ: The Magazine features Shirin Kanji who in only three years is Rent-A-Center’s largest franchisee. Read more about Shirin’s journey from Wall Street to transforming the family business as a first generation American on page 27.
In this issue, enjoy reading about the events and many attractions at RTO World 2018: The National Rent-to-Own Convention and Trade Show Hosted by APRO and TRIB Group, August 21-23 in St. Louis, Missouri. Interested in networking, the best rent-to-own education and social events while you’re in St. Louis? Check out page 34 to discover all the excitement featured at the industry’s biggest event of the year!
Last month, APRO Director of Meetings and Conventions Shelley Martinek retired after three decades, leaving a storied career filled with memories, successes and friendships. Page 24 looks back on Martinek’s journey with APRO.
Learn how APRO members have established strong, long standing relationships with legislators and public officials at the federal, state and local levels by inviting them to visit their stores and educating them on the RTO transaction. On page 19, learn about how in-store visits can help improve public perception of your business and the industry.
Always one of APRO’s most read and appreciated contributors to RTOHQ: The Magazine is the association’s general counsel, Ed Winn III. In this issue, he looks at compliance with the American Disabilities act, specifically what you need to do to ensure your website is not in violation.
Keith Carrico, formerly Rent One’s Human Resources Director, has been promoted to Vice President of Human Resources for the company. In this new role, Carrico and his team of HR professionals will oversee more than 600 associates employed by SKC Enterprises’ Rent One and RNR stores.
Carrico developed technical training skills while serving as an officer for the United States Air Force where he conducted individual, simulator and classroom training while also serving as a quality assurance/manufacturing officer on the F-16 multi-role fighter program. He is certified as a senior professional in human resources from the Human Resources Certification Institute and has been serving full time as Rent One’s Human Resources Director for 24 years. Carrico has helped transform the Rent One Academy, assisted in creating the company’s career and candidate management systems, and was an integral part of the development and implementation of several Rent One programs, including RTO Payments, Company Cake and RTO TV.
“Keith leads an outstanding team that is dedicated to delivering quality programs that directly improve the company’s bottom-line through the creation and implementation of cutting edge, people focused programs,” says Rent One CEO and APRO Board Member Larry Carrico. “Creating a new position was a needed step in focusing on our most valuable asset, our people. We are pleased to announce his new role as Vice President of Human Resources.”
Keith Carrico will present at RTO World’s educational session, Leadership: A Hero’s Journey, on Tuesday, August 21 in St. Louis, Missouri. Click here for more details.
Full-O-Pep Appliances Inc., dba American Rental hosted its annual trade expo and Kent Hoffman memorial charity golf tournament last week in Nashville, Indiana. This year’s event included special guests Deputy Director at the Indiana Department of Financial Institutions Ryan Black and APRO Executive Director Jill McClure. Members of the Rental Purchase Dealers Association of Indiana and McClure met with Deputy Director Black to offer insights into the the RTO industry and discuss the Department’s perspective during the annual event. Additional attendees who met with the Deputy Director were Full-O-Pep Owner David P. David, Lobbyist Mark Palmer, RPDA President Dennis Adams, Benefit Marketing Solutions’ Susan Matthews, Ashley Furniture’s Gary Jones, RentDirect Nationwide’s Bruce Manning, Rent One’s Lori McGovern, Growby’s Eric Grow and Brian Grow and Full-O-Pep’s Kevin Rankel and Bill Howard.
The “Remembering Our Past, Looking to Our Future,” themed trade expo was designed to bring together industry partners to build relationships, promote new products and generate good will within the rental purchase industry. The expo featured products and services including furniture, appliances, electronics, computers, delivery supplies and lawn mowers. The multi-day event concluded at David’s property for the much-anticipated annual company hog roast where vendors, special guests, employees and their families enjoyed inflatable water slides, go-carts, bungee trampolines, a mechanical bull, live music and food.
Click here to see more photos of the event.
APRO’s Education Foundation annually provides scholarships to rent-to-own professionals and their families. For a decade now, APRO members have contributed significantly to the Education Foundation’s Scholarship Fund, awarding 325 scholarships totaling $759,000 to help hundreds students associated with the RTO industry pursue a college degree.
Since 2015, the APRO Charitable Foundation has used a third-party, independent panel of educators to review and score our annual scholarship applications. The judges are unaffiliated with any directors of the foundation board, APRO staff or scholarship applicants.
Applications are sent to the judges who then read, review and score each applicant’s submitted materials based on the criteria outlined by the Foundation’s board of directors and reflected on the application. APRO staff and the Charitable Foundation Board of Directors do not influence or determine who receives scholarships.
2018 Scholarship Recipients
Congratulations to our 2018 APRO Education Foundation Scholarship Recipients! Notifications have been sent to recipients via email and by mail.
Florida Rental Dealers Association
- Caitlin Miller
- Lillian Snyder
Kansas Rental Dealers Association
- Alexie Bass
- Taelyr Blehm
Missouri Rental Dealers Association
- Braeden Westhusing
Tennessee Rental Dealers Association
- Alexis Doroba
- Benjamin Estep
- Summer Ford
- Hannah Hogan
- Chandler Morel
- Conner Morel
- Jacob Adams
- Haleigh Adams-Salaberrios
- Alexie Bass
- Sarah Bennett
- Taryn Bilbrey
- Taelyr Blehm
- Nathan Carter
- Nick Ceruzzi
- Thomas Cleek
- Mary Cleek
- Brandon Collins
- Benjamin Estep
- Bailey Fischer
- Summer Ford
- Jarred Ford
- Hannah Hogan
- Zachary Hyden
- Tyler Jackson
- McKenzie Jacobs
- Dave Jones
- Jonathan Kube
- Gabe Kurtzhals
- Gabriel Little
- Savannah McCauley
- Cody McSwain
- Caleb Mercer
- Caitlin Miller
- Natalie Miller
- Javontay Moss
- William Padua
- Tej Patel
- Cole Peterson
- Michaela Peterson
- Layne Richard
- Conner Ryals
- Madison Samples
- Elyse Serrano
- Marissa Shutt
- Lillian Snyder
- Hannah Tharp
- Brandon Thorson
- Angela Troisi
- Myaicia Womack
Thank You to Our Donors
Our scholarship program would not be possible without the generous support of donors throughout the year. The ongoing, consistent support of our Society for Tomorrow donors is the only way a program like this one can be sustained. Thank you for supporting others in pursuing their dreams through furthering their education. Thank you also to our state associations who participate and grant scholarships: Florida Rental Dealers Association, Kansas Rental Dealers Association, Missouri Rental Dealers Association and Tennessee Rental Dealers Association.
Benefit Marketing Solutions (BMS) announces the addition of industry veteran James MacAlpine to its rental team. Reporting to President of BMS Susan Matthews, MacAlpine will focus on business development, expanding its employee benefits program and bringing new marketing tools to existing clients. “We are excited to have James join our team. His experience in the rental channel will help us continue to serve our growing client base,” says Matthews.
During his tenure in the industry, MacAlpine held operations positions with Rent-A-Center and was an independent rental dealer. Additionally, MacAlpine served as senior vice president of member development for Nationwide Marketing Group and oversaw its rental division, RentDirect. “I’m honored to be part of the BMS team. Its reputation in the rent-to-own industry is exemplary,” says MacAlpine.
An email with access to an online proxy ballot for the 2018-2019 APRO Board of Directors and information on additional voting methods was sent July 11 of this week from email@example.com. If you have not received the email, be sure to check your junk mail to participate. Proxy ballots are due no later than Friday, August 10th.
The APRO Nominating Committee is pleased to present the slate of candidates for the 2018-2019 APRO Board of Directors.
Trent Agin is the President of St. Louis-based Rent One, operating more than 80 locations in 10 states. Beginning his career with Rent One 30 years ago, Agin has been a key player in the company’s growth and development since its inception of just five stores. He has held positions in various state associations, served on committees with the TRIB Group and currently serves as treasurer for the APRO board of directors. Agin fosters an environment of growth and learning in Rent One’s culture as well as a progressive approach to innovative ideas and opportunities.
David P. David is the President of Full-O-Pep Appliances, dba American Rental opening his first storefront in Bloomington, Indiana. Today, the American Rental family is 52 stores strong with 300 employees, plus three RNR Tire Express & Custom Wheels franchise with plans to open two more RNR franchises. In addition, David has served on the APRO board of directors for 28 years, assuming roles such as president, past president, secretary, treasurer, chairman of the education committee and a member of the APRO government relations, ethics, public relations and communications committees. He was also the fundraising chairman for Team APRO from 1996 to 1997. David has also been active in securing legislative protection for the industry at the state and federal levels. He has served as president of the Indiana Rental Dealers Association for 12 years. In 1991, he received the APRO State Association of the Year award, was named APRO Rental Dealer of the Year in 2000 and, in 2009, was recipient of the APRO President’s Award of Excellence.
Joe Gazzo is President of Buddy’s Bi-Rite Holdings and owner of Bi-Rite Company Inc., Buddy’s Rollco, TexNMex LLC, and MMS Group. Gazzo is a 1992 graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi with a bachelor of science in business. It was also in 1992 that he started working at Buddy’s Home Furnishings. Throughout his career, Gazzo’s contributions were integral to the success of Buddy’s. One of many accomplishments during his tenure has been the creation of the highly successful Buddy’s Franchise system. Gazzo was awarded 2010 APRO Rental Dealer of the Year, is a member of the Florida Rental Dealers Association and the TRIB group. He has attended annual conventions, state association meetings, as well as, attending the APRO Legislative conference.
Chris Kale, Sr. joined Tampa-based RTO pioneer Buddy Bi-Rite straight out of college in 1983. He began his career as a Market Manager, earning $180 a week and free personal use of a Buddy Bi-Rite van. The next year, Kale was promoted to a Store Manager’s position, and within a year, he became a Buddy’s District Manager. Over the final 10 years of Chris’ career with Buddy’s, he served as Director of Operations and worked directly for RTO legend Norman “Slats” Slatton. Chris was instrumental in helping Buddy’s grow from a small 6-store company into a profitable 28-store chain. In 1996, Kale teamed up with his two partners, Larry Pividal and Paul Schaller, to open their first RENT KING store in Lake Wales, Florida. Ten years later, RENT KING had grown into a successful chain with 20 locations. Over the past 35 years, he has attended all but three APRO conventions, has attended more than a dozen APRO Legislative Conferences, served five years as the President of the Florida Rental Dealers Association and has attended every annual FRDA Legislative Conference over the past 12 years and has served on APRO’s board of directors for the past 2 years. In 2010, Kale, his son, Chris Kale, Jr. and his brother, Rick Kale, created RTO company, Happy’s Home Center, Inc. Three years later, Kale’s other son, Jeff Kale, joined the Happy’s team. Today, Happy’s has 14 locations and the Kales expect to continue opening many more Happy’s in the future. Kale is an active partner in 18 Rent King locations, 14 Happy’s locations, and 5 Great Rooms stores.
Shirin Kanji is the President of Tampa-based Impact RTO Holdings, operating 76 Rent-A-Center franchised locations across eight states within the southeastern United States, making Kanji the largest RAC franchisee in the country. Impact RTO is part of the retail division within Kanji’s long-standing family business of Impact Properties that has owned and operated hotels, restaurants and commercial real estate for more than 30 years. Kanji earned a bachelors degree in finance & political science and a masters degree in real estate finance & development at the University of New York. He spent time on Wall Street, first as an equity trader, then as an investment analyst and later went to work in private equity at a real-estate investment, development and operating company before returning home to the family business. Kanji currently serves on the Rent-A-Center Franchise Advisory Council and is a member of the Florida Rental Dealers Association board of directors.
Jonathan Rose is a graduate of the Business School at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia, is an avid sports fan, and lives in Virginia Beach with his wife of 30 years, Sara, and daughters Emily and Olivia. Rose supports a variety of charitable causes – many are children-oriented – and has continuously dedicated time to coaching and leading girls in youth sports over the past 15 years. With 33 years of RTO industry experience beginning on the ground floor at BestWay RTO making deliveries, collections, managing stores, multi-unit management, and as a senior executive for over 20, Jonathan Rose will bring a broad perspective, experience, energy and enthusiasm to the APRO Board. In addition to RTO, Rose has experience developing a rapidly rising software start-up, as well as his own advertising publications business he started from scratch. He is currently responsible for eight RNR Tire Express stores, one BestWay Autos Lease-to-Own dealership, and a fast tax preparation service operation. Until recently, he was the operator of 18 furniture, appliance and electronics RTO stores.As he completes his second term serving on the APRO Board as secretary and as membership committee chairman, Rose has enjoyed the opportunity he has had stepping up and giving back to the industry. He humbly seeks your support and vote once again to continue his family’s service and dedication to APRO. Rose has been a very active APRO member and supporter since 1984. He is an annual participant in APRO’s federal legislative efforts, and currently serves as President of the Virginia Rental Dealers Association.
Jamie Slatton began his lease-purchase career more than 38 years ago when his father, Norman “Slats” Slatton Sr., started taking him to work at their family’s retail and rent-to-own stores. “Slats” mentored his son into becoming the driving factor in Buddy’s Home Furnishings growth across the country. As an owner of Bi-Rite Company Incorporated and the CEO of many independent Buddy’s Franchises, Slatton has helped build it into one of the industry’s leading lease-purchase companies. Slatton has been an active leader, coach and mentor to all of the associates and believes in preserving and enhancing the culture of Buddy’s while motivating employees and emphasizing growth and sustainability in the lease-purchase industry. He has earned the reputation among his peers as one who brings excitement and passion to the lease-purchase for his company and for the entire industry. Slatton was strategically involved in the development and implementation of Buddy’s Franchising and Licensing Inc. His impressive ability to network within the lease-purchase industry was a phenomenal asset to the launch of the franchise program at the franchise convention in 2006. His hands-on experience and peer recognition of leadership and sales success is a driving force in every aspect that continually guides Buddy’s Home Furnishings to be an innovative leader in the lease-purchase industry. Slatton’s lease-purchase industry leadership roles include being named APRO’s Rental Dealer of the Year in 2010, serving on the APRO board of directors and attending APRO’s annual Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C. and actively raising thousands of dollars with his good friend Larry Carrico for the APRO Education Foundation. He is also a proud board member of the Florida Rental Dealers Association and member of Nationwide RentDirect and the TRIB Group.
Adam Sutton, born into the rent-to-own industry, credits his upbringing for helping shape who he is today and believes that the RTO industry has more opportunity than any other to become the greatest and most prosperous industry in the world. His father, Larry Sutton, “The Reverend of RTO,” was president of Champion RTO and later founded RENT-n-ROLL Custom Wheels & Tires, now RNR Tire Express. Sutton began his early career in advertising and when his father created RNR in 2000, he came on board as marketing director. In 2004, Sutton married his high school sweetheart and they started their own creative agency Red Letter Studios, working with top brands and many RTO companies, winning national awards and dozens of APRO Rental Advertising Excellence Awards. In 2012, Adam partnered his company with Thuzi, a top digital advertising company and became its chief experience officer where he led hundreds of projects every year for global brands such as Microsoft, Disney and Oprah. In 2017, Adam fulfilled a childhood dream by coming back to work for his father at RNR Tire Express as the company’s executive vice president. He hopes to continue his fathers legacy of focusing on the most important thing in the industry, its people.
Terah Vail is Director of Operations for 12 FAN Sales & Leasing, an Aaron’s franchise in Fayetteville, Arkansas serving customers in Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. After receiving a masters in theology in history at the University of Edinburgh, Vail returned home and began working for FAN, a company her father started in 1996. She is a founding member Vistage group, a peer-to-peer advisory board for local business executives in northwest Arkansas. Vail is also a board member of the Single Parent Scholarship Fund of Northwest Arkansas, a nonprofit committed to helping single parents in the area break the cycle of poverty through education and career advancement. She currently serves as the president of the Arkansas Rental Dealers Association.
Continuing on the APRO Board of Directors for the second year of their term will be Dennis Adams, Larry Carrico, Mark Connelly, Bill French, Sandi Frye, Louise Garcia, David Harrison, Robbie Kamerschen and Gopal Reddy.