Last year’s peer group meetups were such a hit, they are back by popular demand! These meetups are an opportunity for rent-to-own professionals to network in a relaxed, informal and facilitated environment targeted toward your specific industry role. You can expect room for open for discussion to celebrate strengths, dissect issues, and think toward the future with your trusted peers.

RTO World 2019 Meetup Groups and Facilitators:

Tuesday, August 6, 8:00 AM

  • State Association Presidents’ Meetup – Kelly Martin, VP of Corp. Strategy and Culture of Rent One

Tuesday, August 6, 10:45 AM

  • Owner/Dealers – Gary Ferriman, President of Showplace Rent To Own
  • Industry Newcomers – Adam Stark, Owner of Happy’s Home Centers
  • Marketing Managers – Jessica Mahon, Marketing Communications Manager at Countryside Rentals, dba Rent-2-Own
  • IT Professionals – Scott Waltman, Director of Employee Development at MAJIK Rent-to-Own
  • District Managers – Mike Goodin and Bill Howard,District Managers at Full-O-Pep Appliances Inc., dba American Rental

Tuesday, August 6, at 12:30 PM

  • Store Managers’ Meetup – Keith Brock, Store Manager at Rent-A-Center

Join us on Tuesday for an exchange of great ideas!

The cutoff date for host hotel room blocks has passed, but if you need assistance, contact us at 800/204-2776, info@rtohq.orgIt’s not too late to register for both your hotel and the convention now to secure your spot at RTO World. 

We can’t wait to kick off the first-ever Small Batch Managers’ Experience specially designed for rent-to-own store managers next week at RTO World 2019! Even if you registered as a store manager for the full convention, make sure you don’t miss out on all the opportunities that are curated just for you in this special experience.

Reporting For Duty
Registration opens at noon on Tuesday, August 6,* on the Upper Concourse of the Kentucky International Convention Center. Lunch on Tuesday will be available for purchase right next to the RTO World registration desk. Check-in, grab lunch and head down to the Store Managers’ Meetup with your peers to share ideas, challenges, and solutions before breaking for the RTO Education sessions scheduled for the day. Breakfast and lunch will be provided on Wednesday, August 7.

Tuesday, August 6
12:00 – 12:30 PM  Store Managers’ Registration Check-in
12:30 – 1:30 PM    Store Managers’ Meetup
1:45 – 4:35 PM      RTO Education Breakout Sessions
                                 1:45 – 2:35 PM:  Breakout 1
                                 2:45 – 3:35 PM:  Breakout 2
                                 3:45 – 4:35 PM:  Breakout 3
Sponsored by High Touch Technologies
4:45 – 6:45 PM      Hot Show Welcome Reception & Sale
                              Sponsored by Whirlpool
9:00 PM                 Emerging Leaders Networking Social
                                Sponsored by Nationwide RentDirect

Wednesday, August 7
8:00 – 9:45 AM      Store Managers’ Expo Pre-show Sneak
                                Peek and Breakfast
10:00 – 2:00 PM     RTO Education Breakout Sessions
                                    10:00 – 10:50 AM:  Breakout 1
                                    11:00 – 11:50 AM: Breakout 2
                                    12:00 – 12:50 PM:  Breakout 3
                                        1:00 – 1:50 PM:  Breakout 4
                               Sponsored by High Touch Technologies
2:00 PM                  Store Managers’ Afterglow

Small Batch Managers’ Experience Includes:

  • Educational sessions tailored for all store managers serious about their career in rent-to-own,
  • Participation in facilitated store managers’ meetup to share ideas and best practices,
  • An invitation to the RTO World Hot Show & Welcome Reception,
  • An invitation to the Emerging Leaders Networking Social,
  • An invitation to General Session with Keynote Speaker JD Smith,
  • An exclusive store managers’ sneak peek of this year’s tradeshow prior to its official opening, and
  • An invitation to join your peers to discuss the biggest takeaways of the day at the Store Managers’ Afterglow.

Start planning with the RTO World 2019 App! You can find the mobile app by searching for “RTO World” in the Google Play Store/Apple App Store. Once installed, enter the email address you used for registration as your username and “rtoworld19” for your password (case sensitive). Only registered attendees will have access to the app. If you have any questions, please contact

The cutoff date for host hotel room blocks has passed, but if you need assistance, contact us at 800/204-2776, info@rtohq.orgIt’s not too late to register for both your hotel and the convention now to secure your spot atRTO World

Introducing APRO Interns JD and Jessica

For many, summer often indicates a time where the average day-to-day slows down a bit, but for APRO it signifies one of our busiest times of the year. The energy is high at the APRO office as we prepare for the best RTO World yet while also keeping your trusted association working like a well-oiled machine. This year we’re so excited to have the help of two interns, Julio “JD” Palacios and Jessica Weiss

If you attended MRDA’s 15th Annual Heartland of America Regional Trade Show and Seminar or Full-O-Pep’s Annual Trade Expo and Kent Hoffman Golf Tournament the last couple months you may have had the pleasure of meeting JD. He is a recent graduate of the University of Texas at Austin where he studied radio, television, and film with a minor in computer science. JD is APRO’s media intern, and he hopes to build a career in media content creation. “My experience with APRO so far has gone above and beyond my expectations,” shares JD. “It’s been exhilarating! I’ve been afforded the chance to take the first steps in my career path goals through my time with the association.” 

Jessica comes from a background of wearing many hats with careers in music, advertising, and the military. She received a master’s degree in advertising from the University of Texas at Austin and is APRO’s communications and social media intern. She lives in Buda, TX, on a 100+ acre property with her boyfriend, three pets, and a son on the way in October. “This summer at APRO, I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to learn about the RTO industry which is not something in which I had a lot of prior knowledge,” says Jessica. “After being submersed in all of the preparation, I am looking forward to RTO World to see everything come together and meet as many people as possible.” 

We are thrilled to have JD and Jessica join us at RTO World next week. Please feel free to say hi and learn more about them at the biggest event of the year!

You’re invited to…

two awesome social events at RTO World 2019! You won’t want to miss this year’s offsite party at Fourth Street Live! for the full Louisville Experience or the second annual APRO Awards Luncheon and Business Meeting. Keep reading for more details on each and join the fun with your peers August 6-8 in Louisville, Kentucky!

The Louisville Experience | Fourth Street Live Party!
Sponsored by Ashley Furniture
RTO World
Wednesday, August 7
7:00 – 9:30 PM

The Louisville Experience Party will be held at the local premier dining and entertainment destination Fourth Street Live! This year we’re gettin’ down and derby and encourage you to join the festivities! Dress in your derby best with bowties and plaid, sundresses and hats! Dinner will be served, games will be provided, and fun will be had!

There’s more…

APRO Awards Luncheon and
Business Meeting

Sponsored by LG Electronics Corp, USA
RTO World
Tuesday, August 6
12:00 – 1:30 PM

Join us for the second annual APRO Awards Luncheon and Business Meeting at this year’s tradeshow and convention in Louisville, Kentucky. While the inaugural RTO World introduced many new and combined events last year, attendees were still able to enjoy APRO’s annual awards presentation only slightly modified. The traditional evening awards banquet transitioned into an informal awards luncheon and it was such a hit that we’re doing it again this year… with a few exciting additions!

The APRO Awards Luncheon and Business Meeting is a great place to have your midday recharge with colleagues consisting of good food, conversation, and celebrating those who have gone the extra mile in the industry. This year’s rockstars will be recognized with the following awards:

  • President’s Award of Excellence
  • Chuck Sims Rental Dealer of the Year
  • Norm Smith Vendor of the Year Award
  • Heritage Award
  • Ernie Talley Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Steve Kruse Award of Honor
  • Emerging Leader Award
  • Presidents’ Circle Awards
  • State Association Continued Excellence Awards
  • Legislative Achievement Award
  • Emerging Excellence Award
  • State Association of the Year Award


this year’s keynote speaker Kerry Lebensburger, Chief Revenue Officer of Ashley Furniture Industries. Lebensburger will bring high energy to the event with his talk regarding the future of RTO. In his presentation, No Turning Back: The Future of RTO, 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. We have told you before but we won’t hesitate to underscore that with fun incorporations like this one, RTO World 2019 will be the best year yet! 

Admissions to events are included with full 
RTO World 2019registration.

The cutoff date for RTO World hotel room blocks has now passed, but if you need assistance, contact APRO at 800/204-2776, Register for both your hotel and the convention now to secure your spot at RTO World

CHANGE OF PLANS? Do not contact the RTO World host hotels, the Marriott or the Hyatt, directly for room changes and/or cancellations. Contact APRO for assistance at 800/204-2776,

Click here for the full event schedule.

2019 Full-O-Pep Employees at 38th Annual Trade Expo

Full-O-Pep Appliances Inc., dba American Rental hosted its Annual Trade Expo and Kent Hoffman memorial charity golf tournament this week in Nashville, Indiana. This year’s attendees enjoyed an informative trade expo; a golf tournament benefiting Riley Children’s Hospital; and social events including a whiskey tour, painting with a twist, a catered dinner and a day of celebration at the company hog roast hosted by APRO secretary David P. David, owner of Full-O-Pep. 

Hot air balloon at the company hog roast

At the trade show, Full-O-Pep employees were given the opportunity to meet and greet with vendor representatives to learn more about their latest product offerings.  They were also given $5,000 in vouchers to spend with a vendor of their choosing for a product they would like to carry in their store.

This year’s annual company hog roast hosted by David was one for the books. The party included fun for everyone with inflatable water slides, an inflatable bull, euro bungee, a hot air balloon, go-carts, live music by Brian Smoot and the Summit Band, food that featured David’s famous baked beans and fireworks after dark display.

Click here to see more photos of Full-O-Pep’s 38th Annual Trade Expo and Kent Hoffman Golf Tournament.

APRO board member Shirin Kanji was recently interviewed in Franchise Euphoria podcast.

APRO board member Shirin Kanji, President of Impact RTO Holdings, has trailblazed his way to the top as the country’s largest Rent-A-Center franchisee and his achievements haven’t gone unnoticed. Franchise Euphoria, an internationally recognized podcast, featured Kanji on its latest episode, “Developing Emerging Concepts with Shirin Kanji Impact Properties.”

In this episode, Kanji recounts following his family’s franchising footsteps and how he jumped into Rent-To-Own. He oversees all of Impact Properties Investment related activities and directly oversees the newly formed retail division which includes 75 Rent-A-Center franchised locations and 2 CARSTAR franchised locations. Kanji also currently serves on the Rent-A-Center Franchise Advisory Council. He is a member of the Florida Rental Dealers Association board of directors and the APRO board of directors. In addition to being recently featured in the Franchise Euphoria podcast, APRO featured Kanji in its Summer 2018 issue of RTOHQ: The magazine. Click here to read the full article. It is such a pleasure to have members like Kanji.

Click here to listen to the full podcast now. 

We are excited to bring the Kale family to RTO World 2019Chris Kale, Sr., Chris Kale, Jr., and Jeff Kale will be speaking together at their RTO Educational Session, Breaking Barriers: 5 Ideas to Create New Revenue Streams and Retain Key Employees. You won’t want to miss these three sharing five innovative concepts for new ventures and ideas at convention. 

Dealers and Owners Track
Breaking Barriers: 5 Ideas to Create New Revenue Streams and Retain Key Employees
Tuesday, August 6
2:45 – 3:35 PM

Chris Kale, Sr., joined Tampa-based RTO pioneer Buddy Bi-Rite straight out of college in 1983. After his first year, he was promoted to a Store Manager position and quickly became a Buddy’s District Manager. Kale, Sr., was instrumental in helping Buddy’s grow from a small 6-store company into a profitable 28-store chain. In 1996, he co-opened the first RENT KING that has now grown into a successful chain with 20 locations. He has also served five years as the President of the Florida Rental Dealers Association and served on the APRO board of directors for the past two years. You can read more details about Chris Kale, Sr., in the 2015 Year in Review of RTOHQ: The Magazine.

Early on, Chris Kale, Jr., gained exposure to the RTO industry by working with his father as a delivery truck driver. After graduating from college with a finance degree, Kale, Jr., launched Happy’s Home Centers, Inc., with his brother, Jeff Kale, in 2019. Jeff also earned a finance degree and together they joined forces toward the same career path as their dad. Today, the Kale brothers oversee the day-to-day operations of 13 Happy’s Home Centers locations in Tampa Bay and Jacksonville, Florida. Outside of the business, Kale, Jr., serves as the Vice President of TRIB Group and is on the Florida Rental Dealers Association board of directors. Read more about the Kale brothers in the Generation Now feature in the 2017 Winter issue of RTOHQ: The Magazine where they talk about getting into the RTO industry for themselves rather than as the ‘boss’s sons.’


The cutoff date for RTO World hotel room blocks has now passed, but if you need assistance, contact APRO at 800/204-2776, Register for both your hotel and the convention now to secure your spot at RTO World

CHANGE OF PLANS? Do not contact the RTO World host hotels, the Marriott or the Hyatt, directly for room changes and/or cancellations. Contact APRO for assistance at 800/204-2776,

Click below for the full event schedule.

RTO World is excited to have father-son duo, Larry and Adam Sutton of RNR Tire Express [RNR] join us in presenting one of this year’s educational sessions. With combined decades of experience, the Suttons are guaranteed to bring a depth of insight and maybe even a few funny stories to Louisville.

Larry Sutton, Founder and President of RNR, also known as The Reverend of Rent-to-Own, has been affiliated with the industry since he was 15 when he, along with his mother and siblings, began helping Uncle Slats at what is today called Buddy’s Home Furnishings. Having sold his Champion Rent-to-Own stores in 1997 and dabbling in retirement, Sutton’s entrepreneurial spirit eventually led him to launch Tampa-based RNR in 2000 and license the concept the following year. Today, the company currently has 122 locations in 23 states with plans to have 150 locations by the end of the year. Sutton has been featured in several articles, most recently in an interview on Thrive Global that showcases his career and insights into his personal life, as well as a TV show on CNBC’s Blue Collar Millionaires. 

Adam Sutton comes with a background in marketing and advertising, and like his father, started his career in the RTO industry. As his dad founded RNR, Sutton came on board as the marketing director before starting a business of his own. After several years working for himself and global brands such as Microsoft, Disney, and Oprah as a marketing consultant, Sutton fulfilled a childhood dream by coming back to work for his father at RNR as the company’s executive vice president in 2017. He hopes to continue his fathers legacy of focusing on the most important thing in the industry, its people. Sutton also joined the APRO Board of Directors last year.

RTO World 2019
Dealers and Owners Track
Managing Transitions & the Multigenerational Workforce
Tuesday, August 6
3:45 – 4:35 PM

There are five generations in the workforce today each with different ways of communicating and working, plus different expectation from their employers for compensation, benefits, and advancement. This session’s focus is building cross-generational relationships to help leverage the strengths of all employees.
Key components to this session will cover retention techniques specifically targeted towards different generations, as well as succession planning and how to plan for transitions.


Online registration rates increase soon – all rates will increase by $100.

The cutoff date for RTO World hotel room blocks has now passed, but if you need assistance, contact APRO at 800/204-2776, Register for both your hotel and the convention now to secure your spot at RTO World. 

CHANGE OF PLANS? Do not contact the RTO World host hotels, the Marriott or the Hyatt, directly for room changes and/or cancellations. Contact APRO for assistance at 800/204-2776,

Click below for the full event schedule.

This year, the APRO State Coordination Committee is recognizing four state associations that represent outstanding leadership, community involvement, and legislative advocacy with a new award called the Presidents’ Circle.

The members of the prestigious 2019 Presidents’ Circle are Florida, Missouri, Ohio and Pennsylvania and will be in the running for the APRO 2019 State Association of Year award. The State Association of the Year will be announced at the APRO Awards Luncheon at RTO World on Tuesday, August 6, 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM in Louisville, Kentucky.

Click here to see the full event schedule, or here to download your RTO World Planning Guide now and register to attend today!

Members of TRDA meet for its 2019 Annual Meeting in Nashville, Tennessee.

Last month, members of the Tennessee Rental Dealers Association [TRDA] assembled in downtown Nashville for its annual meeting. The group came together to collaborate on existing operations as well as new collaborations in the rent-to-own industry.

Attendee engagement was high with presentations led by Mike Tissot, Owner of Countryside Rentals Inc., and Gary Jones, Vice President of Sales for Ashley Furniture, covering topics on The Art of Growth and What’s Happening in Rental. The group also met with event sponsors Ashley Furniture, Platinum Sponsor; TRIB Group, Diamond Sponsor; Benefit Marketing Solutions, Climatic Corporation, and Creditor Law Center, Gold Sponsors; and Almo Corporation, Global Trading Unlimited, L2, O’Rourke Sales Company, Rental Salesworks, Bronze Sponsors.

Active and healthy, TRDA is leading the way among state associations in college scholarship awards through the APRO Education Foundation. With $15,000 donated last year and $10,000 this year, TRDA feels very fortunate to have such a great group of member and vendor partnerships.

The 2019 TRDA Annual Meeting closed with the election and announcement of the association’s board of directors that will serve a two-year term. TRDA’s newly elected and re-elected directors are Chris Bolin, President; James Garland, Vice President; Eddie Ford, Secretary and Treasurer; and board members Trent Agin, Carl Coble and Ryan Schaefer.