October 31, 2007 11:04 ET

RONA Continues its Expansion in Ontario and Opens New-Concept Store in Waterdown

RONA invests $20 million and creates 150 local jobs

WATERDOWN, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 31, 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 Waterdown store today. The opening of the 100,000-square-foot big-box store, at 52 Dundas Street East, represents a $20 million investment in the Hamilton area and creates over 150 new jobs. With this 20th big-box store in Ontario, RONA now operates a network of over 165 stores in Ontario.

RONA Waterdown is the company's second big-box store in Ontario to use only the name "RONA" with no additional designation such as "Home & Garden". A similar store opened last week in Whitby, in the Greater Toronto Area. RONA is using this approach to gradually standardize the names of its stores with new stores as they are built and existing stores as they are renovated.

"The Hamilton area, with its more than half million residents enjoys vibrant economic, commercial and residential growth. Its varied communities, each with its own distinct character, combine residential, industrial, tourism and attractions sectors. RONA's product and service offerings are ideal for this community. The RONA Waterdown 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 Pierre Dandoy, RONA Executive Vice President of Big-Box stores.

"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 Hamilton 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 23,000-square-foot outdoor garden centre along with a 27,000-square-foot exterior lumberyard as well as a 13,000-square-foot drive-through lumberyard. RONA Waterdown offers a full selection of over 30,000 different products, 90% of them from Canadian suppliers.

"This special day has been months in the preparation. The people of Waterdown and the surrounding area have been very welcoming and we are excited to greet our customers for the first time. Our innovative store features a very 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 Evan Stewart.

The RONA big-box formula offers all the service advantages of a neighbourhood hardware store and all the attractions of a 100,000 square-foot-store. RONA Waterdown 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 Waterdown also include installation, woodcutting, delivery and a separate counter for contractors.

RONA, supporting athletes and youth

Accompanying Pierre Dandoy at the opening ceremony were local dignitaries, members of RONA senior management, the new store employees, and, of course, many customers. Shannon Condie, silver medalist in tae kwon do at the 2007 Pan American Games in Brazil (2nd Division) 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.

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

The Children's Aid Society of Hamilton, a not-for-profit organization that has been active in the area for the past 113 years, will apply the funds towards its post-secondary education program. As education and training become increasingly important, this program will assist youth facing financial barriers due to lack of traditional family support, so they can continue their education or develop skills that will lead to their successful entry into the labour market. Today's donation marks the arrival of the new Waterdown 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 over 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 close to $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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