Would you like to win $100? Or win a trip to Washington, D.C. for the APRO Legislative Conference?

Share your inspiring rent-to-own stories of how our industry has positively impacted your life and the lives of your employees or customers. This is your chance to win a free trip* to Washington, D.C., participate in the APRO Legislative Conference, and leave a positive impression with our legislators for the greater good of our industry.

Exceptional stories are not uncommon in our industry. Whether you’re helping the lives of your customers, a colleague, or carving out some time for community outreach, we know you have an experience to share and now is the time.

With more than 100 new members of Congress and new committee chairs, it is vital to educate the freshmen lawmakers about your business and the rent-to-own industry. YOU are an essential element in our industry’s narrative!

Each story entry has the chance to win the Prizes below.


  • First Place
    • A trip to Washington, D.C. for the 2019 APRO Legislative Conference, April 9-11th including *airfare and hotel stay (arranged through APRO), and conference meals included
    • A feature in RTOHQ: The Magazine, RTO Today bi-weekly e-newsletter, and social media channels
    • Your RTO Story printed and left with lawmakers during APRO’s Legislative Conference
  • Runners-up
    • $100 visa gift card
    • Mentions in RTO Today bi-weekly e-newsletter and social media channels
    • Your RTO Story printed and left with lawmakers during APRO’s Legislative Conference

Please submit the following information no later than Friday, February 22, 2019, to info@rtohq.org:

  • Current title and company
  • Your personal story – 250-500 words total of how RTO has positively impacted your life including, but not limited to, career or personal growth, a customer experience, disaster relief, etc. Please include full names of individuals mentioned.
  •  Photos related to your story

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

DISCLAIMER: By participating, where allowed by law, all participants and winner(s) grant APRO exclusive permission to use their names, characters, photographs, voices, videotape, and likenesses in connection with promotion of this and other contests and waive any claims to royalty, right, or remuneration for such use. By participating in the contest, where allowed by law, participants agree that APRO may disclose personal information obtained from participants in the contest to third parties and use such information for marketing and other purposes.

The Premier Companies President and CEO Trooper Earle and Premier Dealer of the Year Sandi Frye

APRO board member and Hall of Honor recipient Sandi Frye was honored again by our industry last weekend, accepting The Premier Companies’ Dealer of the Year Award. Frye received the award at the company’s National Convention, held in Miami on January 12-13th.

“The initiative and drive that Sandi devotes to the development of her store is inspirational to the entire Premier Team,” shares The Premier Companies President and CEO Trooper Earle. “She tries everything, never gives up and takes any suggestions from other Top Performers as well as the Premier Support Team. She is a merited recipient of this esteemed award. Congratulations, Sandi!”

Benefit Marketing Solutions’ David Kaye receives Premier Vendor of the Year award

Sandi was not the only APRO member honored at the event. Also, honored at the welcome cocktail reception was longtime APRO member David Kaye of Benefit Marketing Solutions who received the Vendor of the Year award. Kaye was acknowledged for being one of the company’s original vendors.

During the convention, attendees received franchise and industry updates introducing goals for marketing strategies and franchise growth in 2019. Speakers included The Premier Companies’ Trooper Earle, Franchise Advisor and Board Chairman John Manzari, and Director of Marketing Nancy Price. Price reviewed the past years’ accomplishments which included the release of the company’s app featuring a robust Refer-A-Friend program and automated tracking system. The team also announced their partnership with marketing professionals as they collaborate on a new program expected to launch March 1st in Nashville, TN.

Trooper Earle, Jill McClure, Larkin Mott and Walt Ulbricht at the The Premier Companies National Convention welcome reception.

Additional speakers at the event included APRO Executive Director Jill McClure who encouraged attendance and participation in this year’s APRO Legislative Conference, scheduled for April 9-11th in Washington, D.C.; and Keynote Franchise Hub’s, Rick Grossmann, a consultant for Premier who will take the company to the next level.

The convention portion of the event concluded Sunday night with its awards banquet honoring members for community service, premier customer service, store anniversaries, sales volume and extraordinary contributions to the Premier organization. Everyone was invited to join their peers for the Premier Celebration immediately following the national convention, scheduled for January 14-17th in Cancun.

“Last year Premier changed up the agenda by having a one-day business convention followed by a three-day celebration acknowledging our accomplishments and to enjoy one another’s company.” comments The Premier Companies Events Coordinator Larkin Mott. “We all had a wonderful time in Jamaica last year and we are looking forward to our time together in Cancun.”

David Kaye, Larrico Carrico and Al Benson

Last fall, the APRO Board of Directors and the APRO Vendor Advisory Committee met for APRO’s annual board meeting. In the course of business as usual, a trio of rent-to-own veterans, industry leaders and longtime friends – Al BensonLarry Carrico and David Kaye – realized they would once again be at the same place at the same time, and soon!

Benson and Kaye, attending an industry event in Fort Myers, FL, were able to take a break to go watch and support Carrico playing baseball for the St. Louis Patriots – a division of the St. Louis Baseball Forever League – at the Roy Hobbs Annual World Series. Carrico, who has been playing baseball for forty years, is the 60+-division Patriots’ catcher. Patriots won, 5-2!

APRO’s 2019 Legislative Conference reception and dinner will be held at the majestic Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, sponsored by RentDirect Nationwide.

You are cordially invited to join us at the majestic Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center for APRO’s 2019 Legislative Dinner made possible by the sponsorship of RentDirect Nationwide. This unique experience will take place in the building’s rotunda in part of APRO’s 2019 Legislative Conference, scheduled for April 9-11th in Washington, D.C.

On Wednesday evening, after a full day of no-doubt-successful meetings on the Hill, rent-to-own advocates will come together at the Ronald Reagan Building’s rotunda for good food, cool drinks, and a casual debriefing. The building, named for U.S. President Ronald Reagan, is the largest structure in D.C. – at 3.1-million square feet – and is the first and only federal building dedicated to both government and private use. You won’t want to miss the breathtaking views of the nation’s capital from the venue’s balcony or, for the heights-phobic, safely behind floor-to-ceiling windows, as you share your extraordinary experience visiting Congressional members with your RTO peers.

If you haven’t registered yet to attend, now is the time! Join us on Capitol Hill this spring as we meet face-to-face with our lawmakers to strengthen our relationships and to tell the rent-to-own story. YOU are an essential element in our industry’s narrative – come and be heard!

Limited hotel rooms are available, so please reserve yours today!

Cynthia Strunk Named RNR Woman of the Year at Franchisee Conference

Longtime APRO member and Hall of Honor recipient Cynthia Strunk was honored again by her industry this week, accepting RNR Tire Express’ Faye Sutton Award, acknowledging Strunk as RNR’s Woman of the Year. Strunk received the award – named for RNR founder Larry Sutton’s late mother – at the company’s 16th annual Franchisee Conference, held in Tampa January 7-9th. All of RNR’s 26 franchise groups attended the conference, including 180 owners, managers, operators and staff representing the company’s 116 stores in 22 states nationwide.

“The number of franchisees and managers that attended speaks volumes in terms of the importance and validity of the content being discussed,” shared RNR Franchise Development Coordinator Tracy Cintron. “Attendees clearly wanted to be there; they truly felt the great value of the event.”

RNR’s Franchisee Conference included a welcome reception, open forums, a vendor show featuring more than 15 wheel-and-tire vendors and the awards dinner, where Strunk was honored among her esteemed peers: Chris Wisniewski and Robert Roller, Friend Tire, Vendor of the Year; Larry Carrico, RNR Missouri, Mike Kent Pioneer Award; Dustin Wright, Wright Leasing, Leadership Award; Rusty Adkinson, Rental Concepts, Multi-unit Operator of the Year; and Keith Ferriman, Buckeye Wheel and Tires LLC, Best New Franchisee of the Year; and Larry Carrico and Rich Bergman, RNR Missouri, Franchise of the Year.

Executive Vice President Adam Sutton presents RNR branding

Additionally, attendees enjoyed two days of general sessions designed to bring participants up to speed on RNR’s 2019 goals. Speakers included RNR Tire Express Founder and President Larry Sutton, Executive Vice President Adam Sutton and Director of Corporate Development Matthew Warren, who addressed business development and personal growth for RNR success. Keynote speaker Bryan Dodge empowered the group with an inspiring, educational and actionable presentation intended to help franchisees awaken the potential within themselves.

“It’s always great to have all of our franchisees and vendors together, this year we had record attendance and celebrated our best year ever with record breaking revenue and customer growth,” concludes Sutton. “In 2018 we had over 110 thousand installations, over $160 million in revenue and over $1 million dollars in charitable donations! We are looking forward to even greater success in 2019!”

In Atlanta, new homeowner Ronyelle and her 5-year-old son (center) were surprised by former NFL star Warrick Dunn and Aaron’s representatives with a home filled with furniture and electronics just in time to celebrate Christmas, thanks to the combined efforts of Aaron’s, thanks to the combined efforts of Aaron’s, WDC and Atlanta Habitat for Humanity.

Aaron’s and Progressive Leasing recently filled two new homes with furniture, electronics and appliances as a holiday surprise for two single moms in Atlanta and Nashville. This holiday wish come true was part of Aaron’s partnership with the Warrick Dunn Charities (WDC) Homes for the Holidays (HFTH) program, sponsored by former NFL star Warrick Dunn. The WDC HFTH program helps single parents become first-time homeowners.

In Nashville, additional partnerships with Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota’s Motiv8 Foundation and Habitat for Humanity of Greater Nashville helped provide single mother Carrie and her five sons with a new, fully furnished home for the holidays. In Atlanta, Ronyelle and her 5-year-old son were surprised with furnishings and gifts for their home just in time to celebrate Christmas, thanks to the combined efforts of Aaron’s, WDC and Atlanta Habitat for Humanity.

“Aaron’s is thrilled to be working alongside Warrick Dunn, Marcus Mariota and Habitat for Humanity to provide these families with this surprise during one of the most joyous times of the year,” says Aaron’s, Inc. CEO John Robinson. “Carrie and Ronyelle work hard to provide the best for their children; it’s humbling to be a part of providing safe, modern and inviting homes they and their families can truly call their own.”

Carrie works as a forklift operator for a Nashville logistics company, and has long dreamt of having a safe home with enough room for her five boys to grow and aspire to promising futures. Ronyelle worked throughout her pregnancy while earning her medical assistant’s degree in Atlanta; her dream was to offer her son a safe and inspirational environment.

“Carrie’s and Ronyelle’s commitments as single parents – to provide their children with the lives they deserve – make them admirable recipients for our Homes for the Holidays program,” says Warrick Dunn. “I’m so thankful to have the opportunity to work alongside Aaron’s to bring holiday magic to these commendable and hardworking families.”

Aaron’s has been a longtime supporter of WDC initiatives, and has contributed home furnishings, appliances and electronics to the Homes for the Holidays program for the past 15 years.

The first-ever RTO World held in St. Louis in August was a resounding success – can you believe it’s already time to begin putting together the sequel? Yes, the time is now, and you can play a key role in our industry’s biggest event of the year by sharing your experience and expertise with your colleagues!

Call for Presentations RTO World 2019 – Deadline: January 31, 2019

Do you have ideas for compelling content for the RTO World 2019 education sessions? Gather them together and let us know! If you are interested in being a speaker at our national conference – scheduled for August 6-8th in Louisville, KY – then follow these instructions, and apply. A committee of industry leaders will review all submissions and determine which ones best meet our needs for the 2019 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 January 31, 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

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

Everyone needs a little help sometimes, and this holiday season, Ohio-based Countryside Rentals, dba Rent-2-Own [R2O] is lending a hand. APRO Member R2O hosted a virtual holiday wish list on its website, where visitors submitted all they wanted, with no limitations. The company received more than 2,500 submissions from customers throughout Kentucky and Ohio, and yesterday, 34 wishes were granted – one for each of R2O’s store locations.

“Reading through the submissions was incredibly humbling, knowing we were going to grant families their holiday wishes,” says Mike Tissot. R2O CEO and President. Examples of those granted wishes included the following:

  • Michelle Yerian, Manager of R2O Cambridge, OH, presented a longtime customer with a new set of tires. “When we told her, Maggie cried, and so did we!” Yerian says. “She takes care of her grandchildren and rarely does anything for herself. We’re so happy and excited for her!”
  • Over in Amelia, OH, R2O Manager Brad Matthews, gave a customer a laptop for her autistic son, whose computer had been stolen from his backpack. “When we called Stacy, she cried and just thanked us over and over again,” says Matthews. “Knowing we made a difference simply by providing a laptop computer was incredibly rewarding.”
  • R2O’s Zanesville, OH, store gave a 40” TV to a family who had to start over after losing everything. In Grayson, KY, a dining room table was offered to a family who had never had a table big enough for everyone to come together for a holiday meal. And R2O Flemingsburg, KY, presented a cash gift of $250 to a customer whose family is suffering through tough times following her husband’s involvement in a semi-truck accident.

Everyone at R2O’s holiday workshop was overjoyed to help make a positive difference for their customers, especially at this special time of year. “A wish is just a wish until someone grants it,” Tissot concludes. “During the holidays, it takes all of us to help those in need and make a holiday wish come true.”

RNR Tire Express & Custom Wheels will hold its 16th Annual Franchise Conference & Expo on January 7-9, 2019, at the Renaissance Tampa International Plaza Hotel in Tampa, FL. Whether you’re an RNR franchise veteran or just getting started, this event will help you hone your business development and personal growth for RNR success. The convention will include a welcome reception, business general sessions, a tradeshow and an awards gala.

Click here to register for the 2019 RNR Franchise Conference, and don’t forget to reserve your room by booking online, or call 800/644-2685 and mention promo code RNRTIRES2019. Event registration and hotel deadline is TOMORROW, December 15th!

For more information, please contact Ryan Schrader at conference@RNRtires.comor at 813.977.9800.

Communication goes both ways, so make sure to let APRO know of any events – either past or future – you would like publicized. If you have recent community outreach, new recognitions, store promotions or staff changes you want to share, then please send some info our way! We happily accept press releases, photographs and videos, and would love to get your good-news word out to your rent-to-own colleagues and other media outlets.

To submit your news, contact APRO at news@rtohq.org or 800/204-2776.