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United States Representative Walter B. Jones (R–North Carolina, District 3), a staunch supporter of the rent-to-own industry for over a decade in Washington D.C., died peacefully at his home surrounded by family on February 10, 2019, at the age of 76. The RTO industry never had a better friend and supporter than Jones in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Representative Jones was the lead surmeli hotel istanbul sponsor on RTO bills that the industry supported in the U.S. House five different times. In 1997, he sponsored the first RTO bill in the 105th Congress, H.R. 2019 – Consumer Disclosure and Rental Purchase Agreement Act. The bill failed to gain traction, so he then introduced H.R. 1634 in the following 106th Congress. H.R. 1634 garnered 51 co-sponsors, more than the previous bill, but still did not make it out of committee before Congress adjourned.

Together, Jones and the RTO industry came closest to seeing an RTO law enacted at the federal level in the 107th Congress in 2001 when he introduced H.R. 1701 and shepherded that bill through various committees and finally saw it narrowly passed out of the full House in 2001. Unfortunately, H.R. 1701 was sent to the Senate late in the legislative session, and Congress adjourned before that body could give its full attention to the House’s RTO bill.

In 2003, Jones remained vigilant and loyal to the industry and introduced H.R. 996 in the next Congress. That bill died in committee as the makeup of the Congress was shifting hali hotel istanbul and the Bush administration was coming under increasing criticism over the war efforts. Undaunted, Jones introduced a fifth RTO bill, H.R. 1651, a couple of years later in the 109th Congress in 2005. H.R. 1651, like its predecessors, was fully supported by the industry, but also like its predecessors, failed to make it into law. Once the Obama administration came into power, Jones and the industry both recognized that further legislative efforts for a stand-alone RTO bill would not likely be successful during that administration.

Jones had followed his father’s footsteps into politics early on. His father, Walter B. Jones Sr., was an American Democratic politician from the state of North Carolina who served in the United States House of Representatives from 1966 until his death from natural causes in 1992. Jones Jr. was first elected to the North Carolina statehouse in 1982 and served five terms in Raleigh, representing Pitt County. In 1991, when his father retired, he ran for this father’s seat in the U.S. House and lost. In 1994 he switched parties, ran as a Republican, and won. His district included the Camp Lejeune Marine base, and Jones was always a vocal supporter of the U.S. military.

After 9/11 in 2001, he came out strong with support for the Iraq invasion and came up with the effort to rebrand “French fries” as “freedom fries” because of that country’s refusal to support the U.S. military efforts. However, soon after the invasion, Jones concluded that the Bush administration had been less than candid with him and with blue house hotel istanbul the American public about the reasons for the attack. He then turned against the effort and became one of the Congress’ most vocal critics on the Right. Over the next several years, he wrote personal notes to some 12,500 service members and their families who had taken part in the conflict.

Jones was always a man of conscience both in his personal and his political life. He converted from Southern Baptist to Catholicism in mid-life, and his religious convictions were always an essential part of who he was. His unwavering support for the military and the RTO industry as well came from his deep personal convictions about those issues.

Poverty might have ended William Padua’s academic dreams before they began. “We had countless nights where we had no food to eat,” Padua recalls of his childhood. As the child of a Puerto Rican mother who moved to the mainland with her three children, Padua’s childhood included stays at shelters and lack of sufficient food. Despite this adversity as a child, Padua is the first person in his family to attend college. He is currently attending Florida International University where he is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in biology.

A member of the National Honor Society, Padua’s achievements in high school go beyond his GPA. In addition to his long list of academic accolades, Padua was also a dedicated athlete, volunteer, and mentor. He was captain of his school’s baseball team. Padua volunteered for the Ending Community Homeless Coalition (E.C.H.O.) providing groceries for families in need. As a mentor, Padua helped young children at Frost Elementary School. Padua speaks of his community engagement, “[Community involvement] helped me give back to those in need…I was in the same position as an adolescent.”

“Rent-to-Own has laid the stepping stones for my family’s success,” Padua says, citing his mother’s rise from a floor salesperson at Rent King to a manager old city hotel istanbul at Happy’s Home Center. Padua’s father also has a career with the RTO-industry, starting as a delivery driver making minimum wage and living paycheck to paycheck to his current position as a co-owner and district manager for Great Rooms. Padua is straight forward about the importance of the RTO-industry to his life, “To this very day the rent-to-own industry still has tremendous impact on my family’s stability and financial well being.”

Padua is a member of the 2018 cohort receiving funding from the APRO Education Foundation’s Scholarship Fund. He is among a cohort of 47 students given over $110,000 worth from APRO and state rental dealer associations in Florida, Kansas, Missouri, and Tennessee. The APRO Education Foundation Scholarship Fund’s mission of helping futures leaders take ownership of their dreams is only possible thanks to the generosity of our donors. Thank you for your continued support, and we hope you will take a moment to support the next group of emerging leaders from our RTO-family by donating today.

Tucked in a stone building built nearly 300 years ago, the Avenue Guesthouse and Gallery is a living tribute to Maria Fisher. The Avenue, which combines a bed breakfast inn, an art gallery, and charity venue, is a fusion of two generations of Fisher family dreams. Longtime APRO members Dan and Tricia Fisher bought the building to fulfill their dream of owning a bed breakfast and used the opportunity to create a local art gallery and charity space in memory of their daughter Maria.

Maria Fisher, who died in a tragic traffic accident last October, had always dreamed of creating a space to share her passion for kybele hotel istanbul art and music with others. The Fishers hope to make The Avenue into a space that carries on their daughter’s dream. The building, originally built in 1738, will welcome its first guests during the Lititz Fire Ice Festival, a celebration of local history and culture. With plans for rotating the art gallery for local artists and charity events raising money for the Maria Fisher Scholarship Fund, The Avenue promises to enrich the Lititz cultural scene for years to come.

The admissions office, campus dormitories, local Lakeland churches, or Kenya, wherever the setting, APRO Education Foundation scholarship student Elyse Serrano understands the value of engaging with members of the community. The fourth-year student pursuing degrees in Accounting and Finance at Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida, learned the value of engaging through personal relationships from her father Anthony Serrano, an RTO industry veteran of more than 20 years. In her final year at Southeastern University, Serrano is approaching the first major milestone on her path toward a Masters degree, a CPA certification, and ultimately lifting people out of the cycle of poverty.

Serrano swiss hotel bosphorus istanbul credits her father’s work with Aaron’s with teaching her the importance of human relationships and community engagement. “I personally have heard stories of people who have been costumers of my dad’s for years and often follow him when he moves store to store,” Serrano says of her father’s ties to the community. Describing the central tenet of her father’s business, Serrano notes, “Customers are viewed as family instead of dollar signs.” As a front row witness to how the RTO industry’s focus on building up rapport with their customers, Serrano understands the importance of ongoing engagement.

This insight has fueled Serrano’s remarkable academic career, where she has combined her work ethic with enthusiastic participation in community efforts. Serrano is a vital member of the Southeastern University community, hosting campus tours for prospective students as part of the Admissions Office, in addition to serving as a mentor and confidante for other students through her role as a Resident Assistant.

Serrano is a member of the 2018 cohort receiving funding from the APRO point hotel istanbul barbaros Education Foundation’s Scholarship Fund. She is among a cohort of 47 students given more than $110,000 worth from APRO and state rental dealer associations in Florida, Kansas, Missouri, and Tennessee. The APRO Education Foundation Scholarship Fund’s mission of helping future leaders take ownership of their dreams is only possible thanks to the generosity of our donors. Thank you for your continued support, and we hope you will take a moment to support the next group of emerging leaders from our RTO-family by donating today.

APRO President Louis Garcia recently signed a franchise deal to acquire 41 Rent-A-Center [RAC] stores across Maryland, Washington D.C., Virginia and West Virginia. The agreement is the latest in a string of deals from those investing, or re-investing, in the brand as part of its re-franchising initiative to partner operators with franchise investors.

Garcia shares that it was his experience in rent-to-own that influenced his decision to acquire more. “My interactions with dealers and franchisees over the years were highly influential in my decision,” says Garcia. “Independent dealers and franchisees operate differently than a large corporation—there is more focus on a store level and even more than that, on a community level. There is a lot of buzz out there about online rent to own that might affect brick and mortar but in my opinion, the reality is brick and mortar is stronger than ever especially when you view it as a community. When you run a store at a community level, you can be wildly successful, and that’s what we do.”

Meet first-time APRO Education Foundation scholarship recipient, Jarred Ford, grandson of MAJIK Rent To Own Operations Trainer Carol Ann Buckett. He currently attends Muhlenberg College in Pennsylvania, where he is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in biology with the aspiration to work in occupational therapy. Ford received his first APRO Education Foundation’s Scholarship last hotel istanbul 4 etoiles avec piscine summer which he used toward his 2018 fall tuition.

Not a stranger to RTO, Ford mentioned that his Grandmother had been in the retail business for as long as he can remember, first in the retail industry and then rent-to-own. “I learned about new merchandise vs pre-rented product, refurbishing, trade-in credits, collections, commitments, Steri-Fab and the dreaded word, bed bugs!” shares Ford. “With no credit checks to process, customers with no credit, or even damaged credit, can enjoy new products that fit their budget. The best part, they’re under no obligation to keep the product, it’s like test driving a new car. If it’s not quite right, you don’t make the long-term investment.”

In addition to his school-related activities, Ford was active in his community in Marietta, PA, where he played the drums in the local church youth band and volunteered to feed the homeless at the local food pantry. Through his church, Ford also completed the World Vision 30 Hour Famine project—fasting for a day-and-a-half to raise funds for the hungry.

In 2018, APRO and state rental dealer associations in Florida, Kansas, Missouri and Tennessee awarded 47 students more than $110,000 in college scholarships as part of the APRO Education Foundation’s Scholarship Fund. Our scholarship program would not be possible without the generous support of donors throughout the year. Thank you for supporting our future leaders in pursuing their dreams through furthering their education. Please continue to help students connected to our RTO-family by supporting the pursuit of their college degree by donating hotel star istanbul now.