At APRO, we are always looking onward and into the future. That being said, we need YOUR help in making the industry’s biggest event of the year another success! What topic would YOU like to present to your peers or customers? Also, take a minute to encourage someone in the industry you’d like to partner with or hear speak to submit a proposal for an education session. Even though it is only October, we are already making plans to amp up RTO World 2020.

Call for Presentations RTO World 2020Deadline: November 15, 2019

Larry Sutton, Founder and President of RNR, also known as The Reverend of Rent-to-Own, presenting at this year’s RTO World in Louisville, Kentucky.

RTO World Education offers the opportunity to hear from some of the most successful, forward-thinking speakers sharing key industry insights to apply and implement into everyday business practices. Every year we strive to improve but we need your help!

Now is the time to submit your best ideas for RTO World 2020 educational sessions. Read below for all of the information you will need and apply! A committee of industry leaders will review all submissions and determine which ones best meet our needs for the 2020 convention.

Presentations will be reviewed and ranked based upon the following criteria:

  • Relevance to attendees
  • Creativity in content and presentation style
  • Presenter’s communication skill and style

Presentation formats may be with 1) an individual presenter, 2) a pair of co-presenters, or 3) up to three panelists with a moderator.

Please submit the following information in your speaker application packet no later than November 15, 2019 to edu@rtohq.org:

Presenter bio(s) – 200 words or fewer (required)

  • Current title and company
  • Years in industry
  • Credentials/training
  • Something interesting about you (non-work related – family, hobbies, achievements, etc.)

Session description (required)

  • 250-500 words total
  • An introductory summary (150 words or fewer), bulleted specific learning outcomes, compelling audience questions, and the presentation format – do NOT include bios in the session description.

Professional headshot(s) (required)

  • High-resolution, print-ready
  • Minimum 300 dpi at 100% size
  • EPS, JPG, TIFF formats accepted

Speaker expectations (required)

  • All set-up requirements, audio/visual requirements, and any additional items you will need for your presentation, such as flip charts or white boards
  • If you require travel reimbursement or an honorarium to present, then include this information. The review committee will select presentations that fit within the overall budget for the event; they may or may not have access to limited funds for travel reimbursement or honorariums.

Video or voice recording of presenter (preferred)

  • Online link (YouTube or other site) – CDs, DVDs, etc. will NOT be accepted

Additional materials (optional)

  • Sample slides, visual aids, handouts, etc.
  • Resource articles related to your topic

If you have questions, concerns, or just want more info, please contact us at 800/204-2776 or info@rtohq.org.

Hurricane season is in full-gear as the outskirts of Hurricane Dorian travels up the east coast inching toward Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. Millions of people have already evacuated but for the rest, it is a waiting game.

“The center of Dorian is forecast to move near or over the coast of South Carolina and North Carolina Thursday through Friday morning,” reports the National Hurricane Center.

With more than 625 rent-to-own stores along Florida and the Carolinas, we know the need for help may be critical. If you’re a rent-to-own employee or know someone who is that was affected by the storm, please notify the APRO offices at 800-204-2776 or contact@rtohq.org. We may be able to provide assistance to those who’s stores, homes, or livelihoods were affected. Application for disaster relief assistance may be made by clicking here now or click the “Apply Now” button at the bottom of the page.

The RTO [Relief to Our] Employee Disaster Relief Fund was established to help RTO employees recover from natural disasters. 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, we want to be proactive in helping the people and communities affected the most. Please click here to consider donating so that we can rebuild and respond to those hit by Hurricane Dorian.

One of APRO’s pioneers and rent-to-own industrialist, Bill White, passed away on August 23. White built an illustrious career and was known by many as an industry institution.

In 1975, White opened his first Action TV, Stereo and Appliances store in Mesquite, Texas. Within 20 years, he grew the company to a 102-store chain with locations in Arizona, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. After selling the company to investors in 1996, White founded White Properties, Inc., a commercial real estate and investment enterprise where he often financed RTO companies.

White was an APRO member since its founding in 1980, and his activism didn’t stop there. He had been on the APRO board of directors for more than a decade—from 1986 to 1998—and was one of the longest-serving board members in APRO history at that time. He served on the executive committee first as treasurer in 1989 and then as president from 1995 to 1997. He was also a founding member and served as chairman of the board of the Texas Association of Rental Agents [TARA], the Texas state RTO association. White was awarded the 1986 APRO Legislative Achievement Award for his outstanding leadership and commitment toward passage of favorable legislation in Texas. He later won the 1998 APRO Lifetime Achievement Award recognizing his contributions to the industry.

It was during White’s term as APRO president that the Association began its foray into image building and boosting public relations effort on behalf of the industry. It was also when the industry finally realized long-sought tax relief with the successful passage of the Tax Relief Act in 1997, in which the Internal Revenue Service recognized the rental-purchase transaction as a lease rather than a sale.

“Bill was a generous, kind and thoughtful man,” shares Ed Winn, III, APRO general counsel. “He was an ethical rental dealer and an inspirational leader during his time with APRO—on the board and as President.”

Within his community, White was an organizer and board member of the Mesquite National Bank, and in 1987, he was voted Business Person of the Year by the Mesquite Chamber of Commerce.

A visitation will be held at 9:00 AM followed by a memorial service at 10:00 AM this Saturday, August 31, at Inspiration Church in Mesquite, Texas. The graveside service and interment will commence at 1:30 PM at Laurel Oaks Funeral Home & Memorial Park in Balch Springs, Texas. New Hope Funeral Home is handling all arrangements. Visit www.newhopefh.com to view his obituary and leave comments or notes to the family.

The backbone of any successful association is a solid leadership team coming together to move forward with a common purpose. We are pleased to present the teams who will be the 2019-2020 backbone of APRO.

Elected in front of their peers at the APRO Awards Luncheon during RTO World 2019 on August 6, the 2019-2020 Board of Directors come with a plethora of background and experience. Congratulations to new board members: Michael Bennett, Buddy’s Home Furnishings; Phillip Bumbry, Mid-Atlantic-WolfPack, dba Aaron’s; and Chad Fosdick, CR Fosdick Ent. Inc., dba Premier Rental-Purchase. Re-elected for another term were board members Dennis Adams, Full-O-Pep Appliances Inc. dba American Rental; Louis Garcia, RTO Advantage Consulting, David Harrison, Rental Concepts, LCC dba RNR Tire Express; Robbie Kamerschen, Aaron’s Inc.; and Gopal Reddy, Action Development Corp., dba Aaron’s. The following are serving the second year of their two-year term: Joe Gazzo, Bi-Rite Company Inc., dba Buddy’s; Shirin Kanji, Impact RTO Holdings, dba Rent-A-Center; Jonathan Rose, RNR of Virginia, LLC dba RNR Tire Express; and Adam Sutton, Rent-n-Roll LCC, RNR Tire Express.

The newly elected or re-elected board members, along with those who are serving the second year of their two-year term, elected APRO’s executive committee. Chris Kale, Sr., President was elected president; Trent Agin was elected First Vice President; David P. David was re-elected Secretary; Terah Vail was elected Treasurer; and Louis Garcia will remain on the board as immediate past president.

In addition to the advisement of APRO board members, the APRO Vendor Advisory Committee sets the direction and helps with many of the specifics of RTO World—the National Rent-to-Own Convention & Trade Show—while providing an important link between vendors and dealers. Congratulations to newly elected and re-elected APRO Vendor Advisory Committee: Al Benson, Central File Marketing; Donna DiTrani, High Touch Technologies; Rob Feliciano, Gemini Sound; Gary Jones, Ashley Furniture Industries; Kelly McClellan, L2 Corporation; Greg Skinner, Leopard Mobility; and Lauren Talicska, Wowbrands. The following are serving the second year of their two-year term: Bill French, O’Rourke Sales Company; John Blair, PTS Direct Benefits & Tax Services; Michael Helton, Rivero, Gordimer & Company P.A.; David Kaye, Benefit Marketing Solutions; and Marty Smith, RES Accessories.

This year, APRO is also excited to introduce the newly formed APRO Emerging Leaders Council [ELC]. The APRO ELC is a small, active group of member volunteer leaders rising in the RTO industry who help drive new ideas and programs for APRO that benefit the RTO industry as it continues to adapt and transform. Congratulations to its inaugural members: Dale Anderson, III, Jaguar Holdings LLC, dba Eagle Rental-Purchase; Jessica Mahon, Countryside Rentals, dba Rent-2-Own; Sachin Rama, Impact RTO Holdings; William Lee Rappold, Summit Capital Partners dba Rent-A-Center; Adam Stark, Happy’s Home Centers; and Matthew Warren, RNR Tire Express. Stay tuned for more details and bio’s on these new candidates coming soon!

Nationwide RentDirect Director Keven Dalke and APRO Membership Manager Moriah Eberhart at the PrimeTime Expo

With music as tasteful as their food, New Orleans showed Nationwide RentDirect PrimeTime attendees a grand time August 17 – August 20. This year’s RentDirect portion of the PrimeTime show was hosted by newly appointed director, Keven Dalke, who took to the floor a forwardthinking mindset of the rent-to-own industry heading into 2020.

This being his first PrimeTime event, Dalke kicked off this year’s General Session by introducing himself and presenting the buying group’s new tagline: Member Focused. Performance Driven. Because We Only Win When You Do. In line with Nationwide’s new approach, Dalke added “we’re not your old school buying group,” before the unveiling of the company’s new logo at the event.

APRO General Counsel Ed Winn shares a legal industry update at the RentDirect Member Meeting

The excitement continued at the RentDirect Member Meeting where APRO General Counsel, Ed Winn III, and APRO Membership Manager, Moriah Eberhart, had the opportunity to address rent-to-own attendees. Winn provided an industry update while Eberhart presented APRO membership benefits. She also shared the APRO 2019 Legislative Conference video produced by Nationwide PrimeMedia that showcases the association’s annual advocacy efforts in Washington, D.C. on behalf of the industry and those who depend on RTO for their livelihood. Winn and Eberhart also interacted with attendees at the PrimeTime Expo, sharing their industry and association knowledge from how to get into rent-to-own to legal advice and membership programs.

This summer’s Nationwide PrimeTime event left attendees with more knowledge and a deeper grasp of the future while its location topped off the experience with its whimsical touch of sights, sounds, and character of the city. “You feel the soul of New Orleans in the atmosphere of the PrimeTime Show,” shares Eberhart. “The location offered such a unique opportunity to network with industry professionals – sharing the food and the music while attending this event was unforgettable.”

Click here to see more photos of Nationwide RentDirect PrimeTime New Orleans.

The annual Route 66 meeting and tradeshow for the Oklahoma Rental Dealers Association will meet September 10 and September 11. The 2019 event will be held at the well-known Tulsa Hard Rock and Casino and room blocks are available to book now! Final details on a guest speaker are still being locked down but will be announced soon.

These two days will be action-packed with the association meeting, the vendor exhibits, and the hot show. Moriah Eberhart, membership manager at APRO, will be in attendance to speak on behalf of the association. She comes to the association from the hospitality industry. Eberhart’s experience includes sales and business development with a background in corporate training. Since joining APRO in May, she has had the opportunity to meet members face-to-face at industry events such as the Missouri Rental Dealers Heartland of America Regional Trade Show and Seminar, RTO World held a couple of weeks ago in Louisville, Kentucky, and most recently Nationwide RentDirect PrimeTime in New Orleans last weekend. Eberhart looks forward to meeting as many APRO members as she can and chances are she’ll greet each one with a hug!

For questions, please contact Clifford “Chip” Guy at 813/361-4086 or chipguy@buddyrents.com.

The acquisition of Buddy’s Home Furnishings by Liberty Tax took place this summer propelled by strategic business moves for the company. In an effort to transform themselves from a tax service business to an investment company specializing in franchised and related businesses, Liberty Tax also intends to change its name to ‘Franchise Group Inc.’

With more than 330 stores nationwide, Buddy’s Home Furnishings is the third largest rent-to-own dealer in the United States. Almost 90% of their locations are franchisee operated. All outstanding shares of common stock will be $12 per share, as offered by Liberty Tax.

A special committee of independent directors of Liberty Tax unanimously approved the following terms of the transaction: New Holdco, a newly formed subsidiary of Liberty Tax, acquired all of the outstanding equity interests of Buddy’s; equity interests in New Holdco issued to former owners of Buddy’s implies an enterprise value of Buddy’s of approximately $122 million; the equity interests issued by New Holdco and the shares of Preferred Stock are exchangeable for shares of Common Stock; the tender offer for all outstanding shares of Common Stock is $12.00 per share, financed through a combination of debt and equity financing; The Buddy’s Loan was extended solely to Buddy’s and neither Liberty Tax, nor any of its subsidiaries that operate the existing Liberty Tax business, are obligors in respect of this loan.

Liberty Tax and Buddy’s will operate as stand-alone businesses with separate management teams.

Click here for more details on the acquisition and terms of the transaction.

The new school year may have started and summer vacations are coming to an end, but the Florida Rental Dealers Association [FRDA] is getting ready for its RTO Life Annual Meeting. This year’s event will be on Tuesday, September 17 and Wednesday, September 18 at the Westin Tampa Waterside in Tampa, Florida.

Tuesday night will open with the Welcome Reception at 5:30 PM followed by the highly anticipated Pirate Pub Crawl into Tampa’s Historic Ybor City. This annual pub crawl benefits FRDA’s scholarship fund and provides tuition assistance to at least three college students each year. The proceeds of last year’s efforts awarded Brandon Collins, Caitlin Miller, and Nadia Zenteno scholarships to apply to their 2019 tuition.

Wednesday kicks off with the annual Vendor Mingle at 9:30 AM. Grab a breakfast pastry and coffee from the complimentary continental breakfast spread and chat with as many vendors as you can about their latest product offerings before settling in for the FRDA business meeting at 12:00 PM. Don’t miss APRO Executive Director Jill McClure at the business meeting. She will provide an update on APRO’s Strategic Plan and take a look back on highlights of RTO World 2019 at 1:30 PM.

Deadlines for registration and hotel stay for the event have passed but for more information, click here. For questions, please contact FRDA President Sharon Tomaszewski at 813/393-8971 or sbtomaszewski@gmail.com.

Maria Elena Barragan with her new 2019 Buick Encore from David and Sheila Harrison

APRO Board Member, David Harrison, and wife, Sheila, regular patrons of an Abuelo’s Mexican Restaurant, told the manager they needed to speak with their waitress after their meal. Afraid of being in trouble, Maria Elena Barragan, immediately felt scared as she walked back to their table, however, was given a gift bag rather than a reprimand. Inside the bag, Barragan found a title in her name to a 2019 Buick Encore.

Maria Elena Barragan standing next to Sheila and David Harrison after receiving the title to her new car

While their friendship has grown since 2006, Barragan immediately said the gift was too much and that she couldn’t accept it. Harrison told her that God led him to give her the car. Raising her children on her own, Barragan reminded Harrison of his mom. Harrison’s mom was hardworking and lived a life filled with strong Christian faith, all while taking care of him and his siblings.

The story garnered a lot of local media attention from online news websites such as arkansasonline.com and even the well-known radio show, The Bobby Bones Show. However, this was not the first time the couple has given away a car to a hardworking single mom. When Harrison was 23-years-old, his mother asked him if he could take her car to replace the tires. While driving to the shop, Harrison realized how old and unsafe the car was and then discussed the poor condition of it to his wife. His wife encouraged him to buy his mom a new vehicle, and that same day, Harrison surprised his mom and dropped off her brand new car.

That first experience, and how he felt, never left Harrison. RNR Tire Express [RNR], the nation’s fastest-growing tire and custom wheel franchise, annually gives away cars to mothers on Mother’s Day. Harrison is a partner in Rental Concepts, an RNR Franchise Group with stores in Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas. As part of their philanthropic mission, RNR asks communities to nominate a ‘superhero mom’ to be surprised with a free car. This past year, three moms drove home with a Ford Fusion and two Buick Encores.

In case you missed it, click here to read APRO’s coverage on the RNR Mother’s Day Giveaway.

The third annual Iowa-Nebraska Rental Dealers Association [INRDA] will meet Tuesday, September 10 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Des Moines, Iowa. The meeting will begin at 9:30 AM followed by lunch at 12:30 PM.

This year’s meeting will feature guest speakers Ed Winn III, APRO General Counsel; Doug Struyk, Attorney at Carney Appleby Law and Iowa Lobbyist; Iowa Representative Karin Derry (D–Iowa, District 39); Leonard Alonzo, RES Accessories; and Lauren Talicska, Wowbrands!

Partner at Martinec, Winn, Vickers, and McElroy and rent-to-own in-demand speaker Ed Winn will present an industry update. Winn comes with unsurpassed rent-to-own knowledge and is considered the nation’s foremost expert on RTO legal and legislative concerns. Winn helped found APRO in 1980 and writes feature articles and a column for every issue of RTOHQ: The Magazine.

Struyk is a former Iowa State Representative from the 99th District. In May of 2012, he was selected by the Speaker of the House to serve as his Executive Officer, a position Doug held until joining Carney Appleby Law.

Derry is the Democratic candidate for Iowa House District 39. She works to protect what has allowed Iowa employers to thrive, such as good public schools that provide both an educated and trainable workforce and an infrastructure that supports businesses.

With more than 37 years of experience, Alonzo is no rookie to the industry. He was a speaker at this year’s RTO World a few weeks ago where he presented Improving Keep Rate, Revenues, and Profits: Proper Product Care and Refurbishment.

Talicska, WowBrands’ Director of RTO Client Services, was also in attendance at RTO World as an exhibitor. She is also newly elected to the APRO Vendor Advisory Committee. Talicska has created and executed marketing plans for RTO dealers for over a decade. She has advocated for the industry for just as long. 

Don’t miss this opportunity to meet with like-minded industry professionals from Iowa and Nebraska at INRDA’s annual meeting sponsored by O’Rourke Sales Company, RES Accessories, TRIB Group and Wowbrands! For more information contact INRDA Treasurer Brian J. Luksetich at bluksetich@gmail.com.