RONA INC.
TSX : RON

RONA INC.

August 06, 2009 11:00 ET

New Totem Building Supplies Store Opens in Strathmore

The new 51,500 sq. ft. store is expected to obtain a certified LEED accreditation for its construction

STRATHMORE, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - Aug. 6, 2009) - A new Totem Building Supplies store opens in Strathmore today. The new location at 300 Ranch Market employs close to 50 staff and represents a $16 million investment in the community. The new 51,500 sq. ft. building boasts 32,950 sq. ft. of retail space and a 13,260 sq. ft. drive through lumberyard as well as a dedicated entrance and service area for contractors. The store is the banner's first to apply for a certified LEED accreditation, the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design assessment system for new building construction.

"Totem Building Supplies is proud to be expanding its network by opening this new store here in Strathmore. Founded in 1970 by the late Cliff Thorogood and his son, Jim, Totem continues today under its original name as a made-in-Alberta success story. The company has made its reputation based on outstanding customer service and on the quality of building materials it sells. We are very proud to have Totem as part of our RONA network," said RONA President and CEO, Robert Dutton.

"We are happy to be opening the doors to a store which has integrated criteria from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) assessment system for new building construction-a first not only for Totem in Alberta but for the entire RONA network," said Dave Carr, General Manager at Totem.

"Our team is excited about serving the community of Strathmore and its surroundings. Our new store offers all the advantages that have made the banner so popular, including a large variety of products in different categories and superior service coupled with expert advice. We look forward to welcoming our new customers and supporting them in the realization of their construction and home improvement projects," said James Thorogood, Totem Strathmore manager and nephew of original Totem company owner Jim Thorogood. "We are also very proud to be partnering with the RONA Foundation in making a donation to a local organization, Project Hope, as part of our official opening events."

The 18 Totem stores, including the new Strathmore location, carry nearly 13,000 products, including hardware and tools, plumbing and electrical, paint and flooring, kitchen and bath as well as their popular pre-planned packages. The store offers a separate counter for professionals and contractors, and is proud to offer them customized services and advice.

While the company has grown, it has maintained its approach to knowledgeable, friendly service. It has two dedicated training facilities, called Totem University, where all employees learn about store products and the latest in construction techniques. Varied, in-depth courses ensure that employees are well versed in all areas of the store. Customers can feel confident that all 1,100 employees province-wide have the skills to assist and advise them on all of their Totem purchases.

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) assessment system

The Strathmore Totem store has adopted criteria from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) assessment system for new building construction. The store expects to receive a certified LEED accreditation for its construction, a first for the Totem banner as well as for the RONA network.

These criteria include measures to promote better air quality, such as use of low-emission materials (paint, adhesives, sealants etc.) in the building construction; and measures to reduce energy consumption such as additional insulation in the building envelope, "T5" fluorescent lighting, sophisticated control of store lighting using motion detectors, timer-controlled lighting, air conditioning and heating during the daytime period as well as water-saving plumbing fixtures.

Certified wood as well as materials manufactured locally were used in the store construction. On site, bicycle racks, changing rooms and showers are available to encourage employees to cycle or walk to work. Finally, because of our concern for saving energy, lighting units on display use low-wattage compact fluorescent lightbulbs instead of conventional lightbulbs.

Totem and RONA Foundation donation

At the opening ceremony, RONA President Robert Dutton and store manager James Thorogood were joined by a number of dignitaries as well as other members of RONA senior management, employees of the new store and, of course, many Totem customers.

At the event, the RONA Foundation presented a $2,500 donation to Strathmore's Project Hope, to provide continued educational opportunities for local youth. Project Hope offers therapeutic services for children, from 3 to 18 years of age, with severe learning needs, including communication, cognitive, self-help, social-emotional and/or behavioral difficulties.

The contribution was made to celebrate the opening of the new Strathmore store and to reflect the RONA Foundation's efforts to help build better communities. The RONA Foundation was created in 1998 with the mission to provide 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 occupation.

About Totem

Since 2005, Totem Building Supplies has been a banner of RONA, the largest Canadian distributor and retailer of hardware, home renovation and gardening products. RONA operates a network of close to 700 corporate, franchise and affiliate stores of various sizes and formats. With close to 30,000 employees working under its family of banners in every region of Canada and more than 15 million square feet of retail space, the RONA store network generates over $6.3 billion in annual retail sales. Visit rona.ca.

An official photo of the opening ceremony is available on request.

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