Friend of the rent-to-own industry, Rose Oldenkamp, died peacefully on May 7. She was a co-founder and vice president of sales of Los Angeles-based Color Ad and an iconic leader in marketing and advertising.
Oldenkamp had a lifelong passion for business and sales, touching the lives of many in the rent-to-own industry for more than 25 years. Since the early 1990s, she worked tirelessly to build her company’s reputation as a premier printing and advertising agency for a wide range of business dealers, national programs, and buying groups nationwide. She was an APRO associate member and energetic supporter of the rent-to-own industry.
Oldenkamp moved from Florida to California in the 1980s, where she worked at the Los Angeles Times for nine years. In 1991, she and her husband Daryl ventured into business by founding their marketing and advertising agency, Color Ad, Inc. With her dedication and passion for sales, she developed a reputation as a pillar of the advertising and printing community. Known for her vibrant energy and colorful style at trade shows nationwide, Oldenkamp is well-remembered for the dedication and attention she gave to thousands of small business owners from coast-to-coast. She enriched the lives of many in the rent-to-own industry throughout the years and will be greatly missed.
A memorial page was created in Rose’s honor at http://www.legacy.com.
National TV Sales & Rental held its annual awards banquet March 20 at the White River Conference Center. Employees spent the day enjoying the aquarium and wildlife museums and attending an awards banquet honoring the company’s biggest accomplishments.
”This was a big day for us and the venue was out-of-this-world exciting for our team members,” says Terry Beauchamp, National TV Sales & Rental Marketing Manager. “We closed all of our locations and purchased tour tickets for every employee and a guest. We started the day off with a tour of the Aquarium and Wonders of Wildlife Museum, followed by a happy hour and dinner in the White River Conference Center.”
Awards were presented for the company’s biggest accomplishments and successes of 2018. Honorees included Don Blakey, 20 Years of Service; Zach Hayes, Lowest Card Close; Ron Slater, Soaring Eagle; Kathy Ramirez, CSR of the Year; Derrick Ingold, Salesman of the Year; Zach Hayes, Rookie of the Year; Ryan Sherrer, Assistant Manager of the Year; Sibo Bohannan, Highest Percent Revenue Increase; Jason Shultz, Most Customer Gain; Chris Chadwell, Account Manager of the Year; Tom Welshimer, Manager of the Year; Jason Shultz, Store of the Year; Sibo Bohannan, Employee of the Year; and Terry Beauchamp, Corporate Employee of the Year.
Elise Nizamutdinova of PTS Financial flew in for the event and joined Aaron Windsor in awarding Club Plan contest winners. Steve Wilmsmeir with Autco also joined them for the evening. In addition, Don Blakey awarded the Golden Remote award to Kacee Linton on behalf of the store located in Ava, MO, as they did not order any replacement remotes during the business year 2018.
Click here to see more photos of National TV Sales and Rental’s annual awards banquet.
St. Louis-based Rent One kicked off its seventh annual Great Expectations Charity of Choice campaign, once again providing philanthropic grant distributions to a variety of charities across the Midwest.
The annual charity event is driven by voluntary weekly payroll deductions from employees in Rent One’s approximately 100 stores across eleven regions, with pooled donations matched by corporate participation as well as contributions from Rent One’s Larry and Sharon Carrico. The Great Expectations Charity of Choice campaign collected more than $95,000 over the last year for distribution in 2019.
The Charity of Choice campaign will fund grants this year to fourteen charities, four of which are new recipients this year. Returning grant recipients include Camp We We Se Je, CASA of Jefferson County, CASA of Williamson County, Voices for Children, Challenger League Baseball, Boys and Girls Club of Poplar Bluff, River of Hope, Madison County Imagination Library, Shriners Hospitals for Children, and Our Little Haven. New donation recipients for 2019 include Kentucky State Police Trooper Island, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Kansas City, Special Learning Center, and Whiz Kids Oklahoma.
The Charity of Choice campaign donations will be used to meet a variety of specific charitable needs, including camp scholarships; recruiting, training and supervising volunteers; expanding and improving facilities; and purchasing new equipment, books, and computers. Grants this year range from $5000 to $10,000 per charity.
This year’s Charity of Choice campaign received significant attention in the local press and news channels, including the Centralia Mt. Vernon Sentinel and the Jefferson City News Tribune.
RNR Tire Express [RNR], the nation’s fastest-growing tire and custom wheel franchise, continued the tradition of its annual Mother’s Day car and tire giveaway in early May. Communities across the nation had the opportunity to nominate their own “superhero moms,” who have given all they have to motherhood, to be surprised with the ultimate gift – a free car, as part of the brand’s annual initiative. Selected from thousands of entries, RNR Tire Express honored superhero moms, Jennifer Wheeler in Tampa, FL, Tammy Niederhelman in Joplin, MO, and Carol Vangilder in Little Rock, AR, for their incredible sacrifices and kind hearts.
RNR recognized each mother at surprise reveal events at their local stores where nominating families presented their moms with the ultimate gifts – a free vehicle. The moms were presented with a Ford Fusion, and two Buick Encores. In addition to the national car giveaway, RNR franchisees across the nation teamed up to collectively give away 25 sets of tires to mothers recognized as runners-up in the nationwide contest.
“I am so thankful for this honor.” says Wheeler. “This Ford Fusion will help tremendously, with myself and my family and what I do to help others in the community. There are so many opportunities to help people and this is definitely going to help me do it!”
The Mother’s Day car giveaway initiative was started by APRO Second Vice President David Harrison, a partner in Rental Concepts, an RNR Franchise Group with stores in AR, LA, TX, OK and MO in honor of his own mother. David saw her struggle as she raised four children on her own, working endlessly to provide for her family. Harrison reached a point in his life where he could repay his mother by gifting her a new car. The magnitude of her gratitude and happiness lit a flame in Harrison’s heart, which has inspired the national annual giveaway – one that will continue to help deserving moms around the nation for years to come.
“At RNR, we value philanthropy and giving back. As David, I too was raised by a hardworking, single mom who gave all she had to provide a good life for her and her children. It’s an honor to positively impact the lives of the hardworking moms across the nation,” says Larry Sutton, founder and president of RNR Tire Express. “Mothers give everything they have to support their children and unfortunately, the world sometimes repays them with harsh life challenges and roadblocks. We are happy to play a role in making a difference in Jennifer’s life to alleviate stresses in a small, but impactful way – with a safe form of transportation and a sign of hope.”
For more information about RNR Tire Express, please visit www.RNRtires.com
The Arkansas Rental Dealers Association [ARDA] held its annual meeting on May 15 at the Embassy Suites in Little Rock. Highlights included updates on projects, a legislative update, board member elections, and planning the 2019-2020 year.
ARDA President Terah Vail notes that a highlight was being able to update members about the projects ARDA has been working on in the last year. “We were able to complete a number of key projects in 2018-2019 that have prepared us to better serve our members in the coming years,” says Vail.
Many members were excited to receive a legislative update from APRO General Counsel Ed Winn III. Winn gave a wonderful overview of the legislative history of the rent-to-own industry in Arkansas, sharing his expertise while discussing the history and state statutes that make Arkansas unique. He also gave a great overview of issues around the country that could affect the rent-to-own industry in a number of areas, including human resources, payroll, consumer credit, tax liability, marketing, safety compliance, and more. All dealers in attendance were attentive and happy to learn and ask questions.
ARDA added three new vendors this year: Al Benson with Central File, John Blair with PTS Financial Services, and Ovi Cohen with Technical Pro. PTS Financial Services generously sponsored lunch, and Technical Pro brought merchandise to show.
ARDA members voted to keep the board of directors unchanged this year except for one position: Scott Houchin with Rent One replaced Rachel Pearson with Pay-Less Rentals as Treasurer. The 2019-2020 ARDA board of directors are Terah Vail, president; Candice Hill, vice president; Kayla Milner, secretary; Scott Houchin, Treasurer; Wally Moon, vendor representative; and board members Jose Palacios and Brandon Cummings.
“We are excited about the 2019-2020 year for ARDA,” says Vail. “Our focus next year is building membership in the state, and working to offer better educational and networking opportunities for members and dealers. The rent-to-own industry is strong in the state of Arkansas, and we will work to make sure it stays that way!”
ARDA has tentatively set the 2020 meeting dates for May 13-14 in Little Rock. Mark your calendars now and plan to attend!
Last month APRO members and RTO advocates visited Washington, D.C., to educate and strengthen relationships with their elected members of Congress at the APRO Legislative Conference. Cherry blossoms were at their peak in our nation’s capital during their visit. Many members use this annual event to the Hill to also make time to visit the broad range of historic museums and monuments during their stay.
On a beautiful spring day in April, APRO associate member John Blair of PTS Financial and APRO member and ORDA president, Chip Guy of Buddy’s Home Furnishings, headed to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. It was Chip’s first time in D.C., attending the APRO Legislative Conference. “So, John and I share a bond of both being Marines,” Chip says. “He told me as a Marine, that I was not allowed to miss going by there.”
Chip served in the Marines in Cherry Point North Carolina as a C-130 loadmaster. John is a Vietnam veteran and was awarded the Silver Star for valor at the Battle of Mike’s Hill during the Tet Offensive. He was also inducted to the Georgia Military Hall of Fame on Nov 5, 2016, and has been a keynote speaker at the annual Memorial Day Ceremony in Canton, GA, where he speaks on behalf of Vietnam Veterans.
Previously, Chip visited John’s home where he shared some of his mementos from his time in Vietnam. One item Chip recalls was a pocket journal John kept while there. Some of the ink from his pen had bled through due to the rain.
Last month, as Chip and John arrived at the memorial, the Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon was performing. At the memorial, John laid a photo down where names of members of his platoon were engraved. His unit was made up of 136 men. Only 11 survived.
“I have a lot of buddies up on that wall and I owe it to them,” John recollects. “I always take time off to do that, no matter what. Until you go and you’re there, you don’t understand the magnitude of the memorial. Seeing the listings of all the names and the history of how long it’s been there really brings it into focus.” Chip recalls seeing John sitting and staring off peacefully, remembering those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.
Rent-to-own professionals doing business in the Land of Lincoln met with lawmakers including key players such as the Senate Minority Leader Bill Brady (R-IL, District 44), House Minority leader Jim Durkin (R-IL, District 82) and Jay Hoffman (D-IL, District 113) during the Illinois Rental/Purchase Dealers Association’s Legislative Day, May 8 in Springfield. This year’s event marks the eighth year that the state association has been meeting with their respective legislators, explaining to them the importance of RTO to Illinois’ economy and the valuable services RTO provides its customers.
Hot topics included the thriving economy in Illinois, the bill introduced earlier this month to legalize recreational marijuana, and the passing of a law that will increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2024. IRDA learned that they might be able to share similar ideas with other states where marijuana is legal but have expressed the rise in the minimum wage to be a challenge since the bill has already passed and will affect the state as a whole. The association plans to collaborate as they move forward to work with the impending change.
“The meeting was a great success,” shares Kelly Martin, IRDA President. “We accomplished a lot of meetings in the time we were there and gathered some insights on ways we may be able to interact with the proposed legislation.”
Members of IRDA also had the opportunity to thank sponsors of the Rental Purchase Agreement Occupation and Use Tax Act bill that was signed into law and took effect in January of last year. The law established that rental dealers would no longer pay a use tax on wholesale purchases, which aligns with other states where consumers pay a sales tax on rental payments. It shifts how rental property is taxed, helping to reduce the final taxation and saving RTO dealers money.
What’s next for IRDA? “We are now looking forward to our annual business meeting,” concludes Martin. “Stay tuned for the date and location but expect engaging topics, new vendors, and high attendance of store managers ready to learn!”
APRO held a “What’s Your RTO Story?” contest in February awarding winners an opportunity to share their most inspiring RTO stories at the 2019 APRO Legislative Conference held on April 9-11 in Washington, D.C. One of this year’s runners-up was Shanah Willis, Rent One customer relations representative, and this is her RTO Story:
Shanah Willis is well acquainted with the challenges of obtaining the sort of therapy and equipment a special needs child requires.
Willis’s three-year-old grandson, Parker Thompson, requires some specialized items due to his cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and other health conditions. The unfortunate reality remains that insurance programs don’t always cover the needed items that may seem frivolous but make an enormous difference in the child’s life.
Recently, Rent One began a program called the Personal Shopper Program. The program provides an avenue for customers to order non-standard items while using the RTO model of payment to divide the cost into small payments. Willis took advantage of the program to order a new seat for Parker. The seat is designed to help the child sit up straight – something that would be otherwise difficult for a child with cerebral palsy. The seat has a retail price of $650, a price that is too high for Willis to afford to pay outright. However, with the help of the Rent One program, she was able to purchase the seat through a payment plan structured into biweekly payments.
The seat has made a big impact on Parker’s life. Recently, Willis was able to take Parker to the park, and use the seat, allowing him to use the swings for the first time. “Swinging was a HUGE milestone that would not have been possible without Rent One and the RTO industry,” says Willis.
APRO associate member Benefit Marketing Solutions [BMS] has added Product Replacement Protection, a benefit that protects its customers from weather-related damage, to its Club program. The new benefit is in response to natural disasters that have occurred in recent months such as “Bomb Cyclones”, “Supercell Thunderstorms”, “Winter Vortexes” and major flooding, damaging homes and property across the nation.
“Since 2018 BMS has paid over $225,000 for weather-related claims alone including flooding, tornadoes, and hurricanes,” says Susan Matthews, President of BMS. “And that’s only the beginning with typical spring storms just around the corner.”
Rent-To-Own companies that offer Product Replacement Protection are reimbursed the original invoice cost of lost merchandise when tragedy strikes. BMS claims process also makes it simple for clients to be reimbursed. The benefit helps retain customers by enabling them to rent replacement merchandise at the same rate and remaining term, so they pick up right where they left off.
“Whether it’s rain, wind, a combination, or even fire or theft, BMS is here for our clients when times get tough,” adds Matthews.
In addition to the Product Replacement Protection benefit, BMS offers over 25 unique protection, lifestyle and health, and wellness benefits in its industry-renowned Club program. For more information, contact Susan Matthews at firstname.lastname@example.org or 972/285-1355.
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. Cody McSwain, a student-athlete pursuing a degree in biology at Freed Hardeman University is an example of the nearly 400 hard-working students that the program has sponsored over the last decade.
McSwain, a first generation college student, balances his demanding studies with the rigorous schedule of the Freed Hardeman Lions baseball program. He plans to graduate in 2020 with a degree in biology, and is currently weighing whether to pursue a career as a physician or a forensic examiner.
Growing up, McSwain and his sister were encouraged by their parents to pursue a college education. While money was always tight, McSwain’s parents were able to provide their children with the tools needed to succeed. Household items, and even the cost of tires for their children’s cars came through opportunities provided by the RTO industry.
Although McSwain maintains a demanding schedule as a full time student and athlete, he dedicates what free time he has available to giving back to his community. He is a frequent participant in fundraising activities for charitable causes at Freed Hardeman University, and works in the Freed Hardeman baseball program’s Champions of Character program as a mentor to local school age children. In the summer McSwain is a frequent sight behind the plate at Little League baseball games, umpiring for games as a volunteer.
McSwain’s story is just one of the dozens that generous donations from the RTO community makes possible. Each year, the APRO Scholarship Foundation is able to provide students like McSwain the resources they need to take ownership of their futures thanks to your continued support. We hope that you will take a moment to support the next generation of leaders from our RTO-family with a generous gift to our program. Thank you!