Learn About the History of Rent-To-Own and Rent-A-Center
How the Rent-to-Own Industry Began
In the 1960s, Ernie Talley owned a retail company in Wichita, Kan. He saw many hardworking customers who either did not have the cash to purchase goods for their homes or who had been turned down for credit. Seeing them leave empty-handed gave him an idea to rent used merchandise with an option to own it.
The idea soon caught on with consumers. Talley opened the first rent-to-own store, Mr. T's TV Rental, in Tulsa, Okla., offering new and pre-leased products.
A concept, born out of the desire to serve the needs of customers who lacked the cash or financing to buy the products they wanted and needed, has today grown into a $6.7 billion dollar industry serving millions of customers.
Rent-to-own, rental purchase or rent with an ownership option - depending on which state you live in - is a unique transaction different from other retail transactions. At RAC, we offer quality merchandise, 90 days same as cash and convenient payment options; delivery, set-up and service at no extra charge (with loaners if needed); and lifetime reinstatement. All of this is provided with no down payment or credit needed.
Where else can you find a transaction that allows you to furnish your home with the merchandise you need and want with no financial obligation, down payment or the worry of repair bills? Today, more than one million customers rely on the brand-name products and services Rent-A-Center provides.
Since our founding in 1986, Rent-A-Center (RAC) has grown from 16 stores to more than 3,050 in the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada through acquisitions and new store openings. Our largest acquisition was in 1998 when we bought 1,409 stores from Thorn Americas. In 2006, we acquired 782 stores from RentWay, our third largest competitor at that time.
In 1995, our company, then known as Renters Choice, went public on the NASDAQ stock market under the symbol "RCII." Our Plano, Texas-based company is a rent-to-own industry leader and employs more than 18,990 people.