• Michael J. Knell

Easyhome converts existing RTO store to its format for first time

MISSISSAUGA, Ontario — Easyhome has added a 14th unit to its Canadian franchise network with the conversion of the former Your #1 Rent To Own, in the Toronto suburb of Etobicoke, to an Easyhome store.

 EasyhomeBill Longlade (center, holding scissors) and his wife, Betty, join store employees and Easyhome executives in marking the conversion of the Longlades’ rent-to-own business to an Easyhome franchise.

This is the first time an existing leasing merchant has been converted to the Easyhome format.

Bill Longlade opened Your #1 Rent to Own in 2000 after a 25-year career in the merchandise leasing industry, including some 18 years or so with Rent-A-Center, where he was a regional manager and vice president of operations.

Easyhome President and CEO David Ingram said Your #1's revenues have lagged behind those of a typical Easyhome outlet.

"Bill sees the relationship as an opportunity to make his store something it isn't today," Ingram said. "He sees the opportunity to potentially double or even triple the size of his store."

Easyhome's growth strategy in the Canadian market is focused on the development of corporate stores. The company expects to open two stores in Canada this year.

Growth in the U.S. will focus on the expansion of the franchise network in that country. Using its Be a Contender program - in which experienced rent-to-own store managers compete to be awarded an Easyhome franchise - between four and six franchises will be added to the company's U.S. network this year, Ingram anticipates.

He said there also are many independent leasing merchants in the U.S., adding that the company's experience in bringing Your #1 into its fold may prove beneficial.

"It was the first time we have done such a transaction, and we will take the time to learn from it so we can do it again," he said. "This is an opportunity to pursue in the U.S. where there is a large presence of small independent owners."

With the opening of the Etobicoke franchise, Easyhome has 260 stores, including 48 franchised or licensed located in Canada. It is the largest rent-to-own merchant in Canada and the third largest in North America.

Michael KnellMichael J. Knell | Contributing Editor

Michael covers home furnishings news in Canada.

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