Aaron’s was founded as Aaron Rents in 1955 by current Chairman Emeritus Robert Charles Loudermilk. While attending Georgia Tech, Loudermilk served a tour in the Navy, and earned his business degree from the University of North Carolina, before accepting a job with the Pet Milk Company, then, later, the pharmaceutical and chemical giant Pfizer. It was while working for Pfizer during the early 1950s, that Loudermilk came across a small North Carolina store that rented furniture and other merchandise. Eager to strike out on his own, Loudermilk drew on the concept and started a rental business in 1955, borrowing $500 from Trust Company Bank, while a partner invested another $500.
His first order was for 300 chairs to use as rentals for an auction. He went to an Army Supply store and purchased the chairs. His first sale was for ten cents per chair per day. Loudermilk’s partner decided that this was too much work, so he sold his share back to Laudermilk.
In 1964, the company began renting furniture and by the end of that decade, was making $2 million annually.
In 1982, the company went public on the NYSE under the ticker symbol: AAN
In 1990, Aaron’s begins to offer franchise opportunities.
In 2008, the company sold their corporate furnishings division to Berkshire Hathaway.
In 2014, customers claimed that Aaron’s has installed spyware on their computer rentals, sending the company hundreds of thousands of email addresses, social security numbers, passwords, even photographs from private accounts. Aaron’s denied that this was corporate related and blamed franchises instead.
Also in 2014, Aaron’s settled with the state of California for $28 million for illegal business practices.
In 2016, Forbes claimed that the company was an undervalued stock and recommended it as a “buy” option.
Today, Aaron’s has over 2000 stores in the lower 48 states and Canada. Over 1200 of those stores are corporately owned.
In 2016, the company had annual revenue of $3.21 billion and employed more than 11,500 persons.