June 22, 2005 09:17 ET

Mark Speese of Rent-A-Center Named Winner Of Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year 2005 Award

PLANO, Texas--(CCNMatthews - Jun 22, 2005) -

Rent-A-Center Chairman and CEO Mark Speese was named a winner by professional services firm Ernst & Young LLP for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2005 Awards in the Southwest Area (North Texas/Oklahoma/Arkansas) in the Retail and Consumer Products category. Speese was selected from 22 finalists in the Southwest Area by an independent panel of judges comprised of local business, academic and community leaders and announced at an award banquet on June 18, 2005 at the International Apparel Mart in Dallas.

Speese began in the rent-to-own industry 26 years ago and started his own company in 1986 which built the foundation for today's Rent-A-Center. Under his leadership, the chain has grown to more than 2,860 stores and was named one of Forbes magazine's Best Managed Companies in America in 2004.

He will be eligible for consideration for the Entrepreneur Of The Year 2005 national program. Winners in several national categories, as well as the overall national Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year, will be announced at the annual awards gala in Palm Springs, Calif. on Nov. 19, 2005.

About Rent-A-Center

Rent-A-Center, Inc., headquartered in Plano, Texas, currently operates 2,864 company-owned stores nationwide and in Canada and Puerto Rico. The stores generally offer high-quality, durable goods such as major consumer electronics, appliances, computers and furniture and accessories under flexible rental purchase agreements that generally allow the customer to obtain ownership of the merchandise at the conclusion of an agreed upon rental period. ColorTyme, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of the Company, is a national franchiser of 308 rent-to-own stores, 296 of which operate under the trade name of "ColorTyme," and the remaining 12 of which operate under the "Rent-A-Center" name. More information about the Company can be found at

About The Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® Program

The Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Program was created and is produced by professional services firm Ernst & Young LLP. As the first award of its kind, Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year recognizes outstanding entrepreneurs who are building and leading dynamic and growing businesses. The program honors entrepreneurs through regional, national and global award programs in over 100 cities and 35 countries.

About Ernst & Young

Ernst & Young, a global leader in professional services, is committed to restoring the public's trust in professional services firms and in the quality of financial reporting. Its 100,000 people in 140 countries around the globe pursue the highest levels of integrity, quality, and professionalism to provide clients with solutions based on financial, transactional, and risk-management knowledge in Ernst & Young's core services of Audit, Tax, and Transaction Advisory Services. Ernst & Young practices also provide legal services in some parts of the world where permitted. Further information about Ernst & Young and its approach to a variety of business issues can be found at Ernst & Young refers to all the members of the global Ernst & Young organization.

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