March 21, 2008 11:03 ET

Opening of New $10 Million RONA in Thetford Mines

New RONA concept offers large product selection and personalized service

THETFORD MINES, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - March 21, 2008) - RONA Inc. (TSX:RON), the largest Canadian distributor and retailer of hardware, renovation and gardening products, opened its new store in Thetford Mines today. Moving from its former site on Ouellet Boulevard, the new corporately-owned store in Carrefour Frontenac represents an investment of $10 million and adds 20 new jobs to the 40 existing positions. The Thetford Mines RONA is based on the new RONA proximity store concept specializing in home construction and renovation.

The 52,000-square-foot store also features a 20,000-square-foot indoor lumberyard and a 40,000-square-foot outdoor lumberyard. The store stocks over 25,000 different products chosen to meet the needs of contractors and do-it-yourselfers.

"Today's opening reflects the determination of RONA to stay at the leading edge of the hardware and home renovation retail business," said RONA President and CEO Robert Dutton. "Our growth plan is grounded in the expansion of our network and the success of our existing stores. We're proud to be opening this store when its former owners, the Nadeau family, have been contributing to RONA's success for over 15 years and serving the people of Thetford Mines since 1959."

"We're also proud to be able to offer the people of Thetford Mines this new proximity store concept. We've created a really unique environment here, with a friendly atmosphere and an extensive array of products and services, just like you'd find in the major urban centres," added Claude Bernier, RONA Senior Vice President, Proximity and specialized stores. "Now local customers will be able to find everything they need for their renovation projects right here in Thetford Mines, and also count on the exceptional service they have always enjoyed from the employees on Ouellet Boulevard."

The new RONA store offers the best in construction materials and finishing products: paint, lighting fixtures, storage, bathroom fixtures and accessories, and doors and windows. Services include delivery, wood cutting, a special counter reserved for contractors and professionals, and the all-new RONA Project Guide service, which provides the assistance of trained and experienced staff members to guide customers through all the stages of their renovation projects.

"We're glad to be able to provide a fresh new shopping experience for our customers, and for contractors and construction professionals," said Alain Nadeau, manager of the Thetford Mines RONA. "Our 60-member team is friendly, motivated and competent. We're going to really enjoy providing our customers with the same superior quality service our reputation is built on. Along with a bigger product selection, we will also be able to give them personalized advice and practical information to help them succeed with their renovation plans."

Nadeau was joined at the inauguration by Laurent Lessard, Frontenac MNA, Quebec Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, and Minister for the Chaudiere-Appalaches and Centre-du-Quebec regions; a representative of Christian Paradis, Megantic-L'Erable MP and Secretary of State for Agriculture; Luc Berthold, Thetford Mines Mayor; members of the RONA senior management team; employees of the new store; and numerous customers. Francois Boivin, a snowboarder who receives support from RONA's "Growing with our Athletes" program also took part in the ceremony.

The 100 athletes supported through the "Growing with our Athletes" program were selected by the Canadian Olympic Committee and the Canadian Paralympic Committee in collaboration with their member sports federations. These athletes are Canada's Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls for the 2008 Games in Beijing or the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver. RONA is a national partner of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games and a national partner of the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic teams until 2012.

At the opening ceremony, the RONA Foundation also gave a donation of $2,500 to the Thetford Mines Polyvalente's Fondation Carrier Fecteau. The Fondation Carrier Fecteau helps provide alternatives for young dropouts, allowing them to train for semi-specialized trades through a pre-DEP program. The focus throughout the course of study is on individualized learning, and students progress at their own pace with the help of a teacher. The donation was made to celebrate the opening of the new store in the Thetford Mines region and it symbolizes the RONA Foundation's efforts to help build better communities.

The mission of the RONA Foundation is 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 RONA

RONA is the largest Canadian distributor and retailer of hardware, home renovation and gardening products. RONA operates a network of 680 franchise, affiliate and corporate stores of various sizes and formats. With over 27,000 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 $6.2 billion in annual retail sales. Visit to learn more.

High-resolution digital photos of the opening ceremony photo are available on request.

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