Our story begins with our former founder and CEO Ron Hill. He connected with professionals working with Sylvan Learning Centers, which was using toys as a way to incentivize students to improve in subject knowledge. From there Ron plugged into the family entertainment industry and discovered the potential business opportunity.
In 1996, Redemption Plus was born in Ron’s parents’ basement. His goal was to integrate technology with a unique product line to create a truly one-of-a-kind experience for his customers and their guests. In tandem, Ron discovered the vital importance of creating work-life balance within his business, something that, at the time, was a “big idea.” He quickly instilled a culture of playfulness, balance, philanthropy and creativity.
Ron’s background in technology was the guiding force in Redemption Plus quickly becoming the first in the industry to innovate many technology and business solutions including a customized e-commerce experience, the digital packing list (which did away with manual product entry) and redemption counter merchandising.
We went through growing pains, as many companies do within their first decade of business.
Throughout this struggle and despite it all, we discovered our values and our Purpose, “ enriching lives through insights that empower,” which stands at the helm of all we do. Along with internal disturbances, outside forces gave us a reality check. [Thank Goodness!]. Big retailers like Amazon set the stage for what a great e-commerce shopping experience should be like. From that, we realized we were making it difficult for customers to do business with us. We became aware it was time to modernize our brand and the way we do business.
The result: 2017 through March 2020, were spent doing necessary (and tough) work to lay the foundation of where we are today. We began innovating again. Redemption Plus became the first redemption vendor in the industry to offer a comprehensive service program complete with product, training, merchandising and reporting solutions. Our design services create tailored and unique redemption spaces that are unmatched within the industry. We relaunched and simplified a stale product line, including crane and merchandiser offerings, that is now backed by performance data. Our Product Solutions team built an indexing system that identifies core prizes every redemption assortment needs, taking the guesswork out of choosing from hundreds of prize options. We introduced “Storyboards,” which allow customers to shop by pre-designed merchandising layouts, assembled based on product performance data.
When the Family Entertainment shut down in March 2020, we pivoted and began selling Boredom Buster Boxes to consumers, giving 10% of our revenue to The Ronald McDonald House of Kansas City. And we looked for ways to sustain the Redemption Plus brand beyond the unknowns. In August 2020, we partnered with Rhode Island Novelty, the industry's largest supplier of prize and toy merchandise. We found a partnership that is complementary in our strengths, with RINCO's highly-efficient fulfillment center and Redemption Plus' service-first culture. We could see that we may not only survive the industry shut down, but eventually, thrive. Ron stepped out of his role as CEO to pursue other endeavors, leaving COO Mike Tipton to lead the day-to-day operations and Mike Nowak stepped in as Redemption Plus' new owner and President.
Our commitment to customer education and knowledge growth will persist as we continue to mature as a reborn organization. Newly implemented systems will allow us to grow and adapt as technology continues to change at an ever-increasing rate. Most importantly, we know redemption doesn’t matter until it does, and that’s why the ease of doing business with Redemption Plus remains our most fundamental goal. By focusing on ways to reduce our customers' wasted time, money, inventory and resources around redemption, we have built service solutions that help them focus on growth.
In 25 years of business, we amassed 1,600+ customers across the United States and Canada and for that we are eternally grateful. At Redemption Plus, we don’t take ourselves too seriously, but we take seriously our responsibility to help FEC businesses be the best they can be. We love to dream big, have a genuine desire to understand and create meaningful connections with all those we touch - customers, customers’ customers, industry partners and beyond. After all, we turn on the lights each morning to help our customers grow with us.
And that’s that.