April 03, 2007 11:00 ET

$20 Million RONA Home & Garden Centre Opens in Scarborough

- RONA creates 175 local jobs

SCARBOROUGH, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - April 3, 2007) - Less than nine months after turning the first sod, RONA Inc. (TSX:RON), the largest Canadian distributor and retailer of hardware, renovation and gardening products, opened its new Home & Garden store in Scarborough today. With this newest store located at 3750 Midland Avenue, RONA has created 175 local jobs and generated a $20 million investment in the community of Scarborough. It is RONA's 165th store in Ontario.

Seasoned home renovators and first-time homeowners alike will be able to find what they're looking for in the 100,000 square-foot consumer-friendly store. In addition to the large indoor sales area, there is a spacious greenhouse, a garden centre of close to 34,000 square-feet, and an indoor, drive-through lumber yard for added shopping convenience. The store lot has parking space for 520 vehicles.

"We believe consumers will be treated to a shopping experience that is unique within the home improvement industry," said RONA President and CEO Robert Dutton. "Over the years, we have become a trendsetter in catering to all segments of the population. We have done so by developing an unrivalled business model that allows us to meet different types of consumer needs with different store formats, regardless of size or geographic location. It is a formula that has been well-received in the communities we serve, and we look forward to bringing this experience to our new Scarborough store."

Danny Tse, Store Manager of the Scarborough RONA Home & Garden, noted that approximately 60% of the store's staff is Asian, and in-store signage has been translated for the benefit of the predominantly Asian community. He added that "the ability to draw on the vast RONA network, including our extraordinary distribution capabilities, will provide customers with an enhanced offering of products and services.

"RONA's unbeatable buying power allows us to offer consumers a terrific selection of items at the right prices. We're also proud of the fact more than 90 per cent of our merchandise comes from Canadian vendors. Consumers will also notice our innovative merchandising with in-store boutique concepts as well as our strong focus on customer service. It all adds up to an appealing concept that I'm sure consumers will enjoy," added Mr. Tse.

Boasting the hometown service of a local hardware and the excitement of a big box, the RONA Home & Garden combines the best of building materials with finishing products and home decor boutiques. These "stores within the store" boutiques will carry paint, lighting, kitchen and bathroom cabinetry, moldings, doors and windows - and much more. Additional specialty services include kitchen and bath design, flooring, custom blind cutting, computer paint chip matching, door and window takeoffs, as well as lumber cutting and delivery.

Unique to the home renovation industry, RONA's in-store specialty boutiques have been designed to make the home renovation process easier and more efficient. Housed under one roof, RONA's boutiques provide customers with a one-stop shopping experience to fulfill all their home improvement needs. Earlier this year, the company launched RONA by Design, an exciting new concept in home renovation and decorating that gives customers suggestions and solutions for dealing with their specific renovation projects.

Mr. Dutton was joined at today's official opening by dignitaries, City Councilors Chin Lee (Scarborough Rouge River) and Mike Del Grande (Scarborough Agincourt), MPP Bas Balkissoon (Scarborough Rouge River), and MPs Derek Vincent Lee (Scarborough Rouge River) and Jim Karygiannis (Scarborough Agincourt), members of the RONA senior management team, local store staff and a large gathering of customers. Eight-time national taekwondo champion and member of the RONA "Growing with Our Athletes" program, Shannon Condie, also attended today's event.

RONA is committed to helping the development of Canadian athletes, through its "Growing with Our Athletes program, which provides financial support to 100 high-performance winter and summer athletes who are current and future Olympians. Every RONA store in Canada is aligned with one of these athletes to generate local community support and involvement.

"RONA has always been proud to support the communities in which we operate," said Dutton. "With our Olympic Games sponsorship we have taken this to a whole new level. The 2010 Olympics Games represent a lot of the same values we see as a priority here at RONA, including determination, teamwork and a desire to be the best."

The RONA Foundation invests in Scarborough youth

During the opening ceremony, the RONA Foundation presented a $5,000 donation to North West Scarborough Youth Centre to fund their homework club, which also offers tutoring and employment support. The youth who attend the centre come from diverse ethno-racial backgrounds and face a number of challenges. This gesture served to mark the arrival of the new Scarborough store and the Foundation's efforts to help build better communities.

Dropping out of school and illiteracy are serious problems in our society. Young people in these situations need help and motivation - in other words, they need a helping hand to get their lives on track. That's why the RONA Foundation focuses on helping to improve the future of young people who get off to a difficult start in life.

The RONA Foundation provides assistance to young people between the ages of 12 and 30 who are struggling with problems such as dropping out of school and illiteracy, and to offer them the training they need to work at a trade or other occupation.

About RONA

RONA Inc. is the largest Canadian distributor and retailer of hardware, home renovation and gardening products. RONA operates a network of 662 corporate, franchise and affiliate stores of various sizes and formats. With over 26,000 employees working under its family of banners in every region of Canada and more than 14 million square feet of retail space, the RONA store network now generates close to $6 billion in annual retail sales.

For more information, please visit the RONA website at

Digital high resolution pictures of the event are available on request.

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