December 04, 2007 11:00 ET

RONA Continues its Expansion in Ontario With the Opening of its Newest Big Box Store in London

RONA invests $20 million and creates 150 local jobs

LONDON, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Dec. 4, 2007) - RONA inc. (TSX:RON), the largest Canadian distributor and retailer of hardware, renovation and gardening products, is continuing its expansion in Ontario and officially unveiled its new RONA London store today. The opening of the 100,000-square-foot big-box store, at 1305 Commissioners Road East, represents a $20 million investment in the London area and creates over 150 new jobs.

With the opening of this 21st big-box store in Ontario, RONA now operates a network of over 165 stores in the province. Through its various banners, RONA has become a trusted destination for home renovation and construction, a dedicated employer and a caring partner across the Ontario communities where the Company is present.

"London with its metropolitan population of just under a half million residents enjoys rich economic, commercial and residential growth. The "Forest City", as it is known to local residents, combines residential, educational, industrial, tourism and attractions sectors. RONA's product and service offering is ideal for this community. The RONA London store benefits from all the latest innovations in terms of signage, specialized boutiques and services, including our recently introduced Project Guide service as well as our installation services," explained Robert Dutton, RONA's President and CEO.

"Our unique business model, allows us to meet the specific needs of all the different communities we serve, no matter what their size or location, with stores of different formats. We're very proud to offer this customized formula to the people of the London area," he added.

Everything under one roof

Experienced do-it-yourselfers, first-time homeowners and construction professionals will all find what they need in the customer-friendly, 100,000-square-foot store. Along with its vast sales area, the store boasts a spacious 4,000-square-foot greenhouse, a 27,000-square-foot outdoor garden centre along with a 17,000-square-foot exterior lumberyard as well as a 13,000-square-foot drive-through lumberyard. RONA London offers a full selection of over 30,000 different products, 90% of them from Canadian suppliers.

"We are thrilled to be opening the doors of our new store to the people of London and the surrounding area. Our innovative store features a well-planned layout to make finding products easier, quality products at competitive prices, and above all, personalized service. Whatever your construction or renovation project, we will be on hand to guide you through its completion and to really exceed your expectations of quality service," said store manager Oscar Quinonez.

The RONA big-box formula offers all the service advantages of a neighbourhood hardware store and all the attractions of a large store. RONA London offers construction materials, finishing materials and specialized boutiques including paint, the latest decoration accessories, kitchen and bathroom cabinets, doors and windows as well as flooring.

Unlike anything else in the home improvement sector, RONA boutiques are designed to support the renovation process and make it more efficient. They allow customers to find everything they need to complete a renovation project in one single place. With the same idea in mind, the Company recently launched its new Project Guide service, an all-new concept offering the help of knowledgeable, specially-trained staff who guide customers through the different stages of specific renovation projects. Meanwhile, the "RONA by Design" renovation and interior decoration concept offers suggestions and solutions to manage projects such as bathrooms, facades or kitchens.

Specialized services at the new RONA London also include installation, woodcutting, delivery and a separate counter for contractors.

RONA, supporting athletes and youth

Accompanying Robert Dutton at the opening ceremony were local dignitaries, members of RONA senior management, the new store employees, and, of course, many customers. Karen Cockburn, Olympic silver (Sydney 2000) and bronze medalist (Athens 2004) in trampoline, and one of the many athletes that RONA supports through the "Growing with our Athletes" program, also took part in the opening ceremony.

RONA has made a commitment to support Canadian athletes through its "Growing with our Athletes" program, which offers financial support to 100 top-level athletes practicing winter or summer sports, whether they're already Olympians or headed in that direction. Every RONA store in Canada is paired with one of these athletes to increase community support and participation. RONA is also a national partner of the 2010 Vancouver Olympic and Paralympic Games as well as a national partner of the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic teams.

During the London store opening ceremony, the RONA Foundation, jointly with the Children's Aid Foundation, announced a donation of $15,000 over three years to the to the Children's Aid of London and Middlesex.

The RONA donation will be used to fund the Children's Aid of London and Middlesex after-school tutoring program. As education and training become increasingly important, this program will assist youth facing educational barriers so they can continue raise their self-esteem and develop skills that will lead to their academic success. Today's donation marks the arrival of the new London store and the RONA Foundation's efforts to help build better communities.

Created in 1998, the RONA Foundation provides assistance for young people aged 12 to 30 by supporting local organizations and projects that fight school dropout and illiteracy or that offer them training so that they can take up a trade or a profession. The RONA Foundation is dedicated to helping troubled young people believe in themselves and in their future again - for their own benefit and for the good of their community.

About RONA

RONA inc. is the largest Canadian distributor and retailer of hardware, home renovation and gardening products. RONA operates a network of more than 670 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 over $6 billion in annual retail sales.

For more information, please visit the RONA website at

Digital photos of the opening ceremonies are available.

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