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Rent-to-own firm has a new home

November 9, 2012 12:10 am


A BestWay Rent-to-Own opened Wednesday in Greenbrier Shopping Center on State Route 3 in Fredericksburg.

The business had been in what is now Eagle Village on U.S. 1 in the city for about 15 years.

"Our lease was running out and we needed a bigger space," said Jonathan Rose, chief operating officer of Norfolk-based R.T.O. Inc.

The company's Fredericksburg BestWay store now occupies 6,000 square feet in the former Factory Card Outlet location. It will open a Rent-N-Roll Custom Wheels & Performance Tires store in the other 5,000 square feet of that space in early to mid-December.

"We're a franchisee and are developing all of Virginia," Rose said of Rent-N-Roll. "That will be our fourth location."

The other three are in the Hampton Roads area, he said.

R.T.O., which began in 1985, has 19 BestWay locations throughout central and southeastern Virginia. They rent and sell a variety of home furnishings and electronics.

Rose said the rent-to-own concept appeals to people who aren't sure if they'll get laid off in today's shaky economy, as well as to early adopters who don't want to buy the latest flat-screen TV because they're going to upgrade as soon as something newer comes out.

The industry is adopting a new marketing slogan, "Helping you live the good life when life is unpredictable," he said. "We want people to have the things they want and need. If you're locked into something, you're not flexible."

R.T.O., which also owns BestWay Tax Service and BestWay Autos, further expanded its presence in the rent-to-own field four years ago by purchasing the Virginia development rights to Rent-N-Roll Custom Wheels & Performance Tires from a franchiser in Tampa. That business is geared to people on tight budgets who need a new set of tires or want to enhance the look and performance of their vehicles with, say, a shiny new set of 24-inch chrome wheels.

They pay an origination fee of $25 to $250 depending on wheel and/or tire size, style and price. Ownership is obtained after the required number of weekly, biweekly, semimonthly or monthly payments are made or an early payout option is exercised. Customers are not locked in and can end the agreement whenever they want.

"If you need a new set of Michelins and don't have the cash or space on your credit card, your options are limited," Rose said. "But if you want to put them on a car, we can do that for you. If you want to enhance the look of your car with custom tires we'll put them on your car as well."

Cathy Jett: 540/374-5407

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