Business Booming at Rent-to-Own Stores

By Wyatt Goolsby
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - It's one of the strongest and steadiest businesses in a down economy: Rent-to-Own. It works for hundreds of West Texans looking for a price and payment plan that fits their budget. Nationwide, Aaron's is reporting 18 percent growth. Aaron's managers here in the Basin told NewsWest 9 their stores are right at the top of the sales charts.

"Things are very good here. We haven't seen a slump in customers," James Escobar, the Assistant Manager at the Aaron's Store in Midland, said. "I know since the economy has gotten so bad, we really haven't hurt that bad at all."

Escobar said just last week, their store was nearly cleared out. Many are spending their money on big items they want, but in payment plans they can afford.

"That's what a lot of people are looking for now," Escobar added. "I know a lot of people lost their jobs due to the oil, and right now their credit has gone bad. But here, we have no credit check. We offer you brand new merchandise at low prices."

Managers said the Aaron's stores here in the Basin are among the top in their chain nationwide. They said a variety of shoppers come looking for everything from appliances to furniture, and make payments on items monthly or semi-monthly. No matter what the time of the year, they said rent-to-own here always seems to be in demand.

"We're pretty steady, and now we got the holidays coming up. Right now we are doing a special right now for back to school on laptops and computers," Escobar said.

Industry officals said when it comes to rent-to-own, business is up. However, they also said only five percent end up buying what they rented. In addition, experts say when you buy through rent-to-own companies, the full retail price is higher than it would be if you went to a traditional store.