February 02, 2010 15:00 ET

RONA Builds and "Makes the Podium" in Its Partnership With 2010 Winter Games

RONA assembled podiums, provided building materials, trained at-risk youth, supported athletes and will provide volunteers in 2010 Winter Games

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Feb. 2, 2010) -

Editors note: A photo is available on Marketwire's website

RONA Inc. (TSX:RON), the largest Canadian distributor and retailer of hardware, renovation and gardening products concludes, just days before 2010 Winter Games begin, that its role as a National Partner of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games has been a success. The company believes that its involvement based on four distinct pillars - supporting Canadian athletes, helping to build the Olympic venues, training at-risk youth and engaging our employees - will result in a lasting legacy long after the 2010 Winter Games are over. RONA commented on its partnership during today's unveiling of the distinctive podium that will be used during the Victory Ceremonies and were assembled by the RONA Vancouver 2010 Fabrication Shop.

"For more than 70 years, we have been growing and serving customers in communities across Canada. Caring for people is part of RONA's DNA" said Claude Bernier, executive vice president of marketing and customer innovations of RONA. "We approached our VANOC partnership with the same spirit, and we're happy to know that our contribution will continue to help communities well after the Games are concluded."

"As a Canadian company, RONA's leadership, innovation, commitment and passion are an important contribution to the success of the 2010 Winter Games and long afterwards. Projects like the building of the podiums for the Victory Ceremonies demonstrate RONA's continued support of athletes as they make their way to the podium, and for communities through the legacy of skills and experience gained from the RONA Vancouver 2010 Fab Shop," said John Furlong CEO of the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC).

RONA Steps Up to the Podiums

The podiums were constructed from wood donated by several different communities across British Columbia. The donated wood was collected at various RONA stores for shipment to Vancouver. The wood was milled at Bayview Millworks, a Vancouver-based high-end wood product manufacturer and distributor, before being custom-cut at the Centre for Advanced Wood Processing at the University of British Columbia. The podiums were then assembled at the RONA Vancouver 2010 Fabrication Shop, a community-based training centre dedicated to teaching carpentry skills to new Canadians and at-risk youth in the community. Wherever possible, the podiums were assembled with screws instead of glue, so that the wood can be reused for other purposes post 2010 Winter Games. RONA also provided the wood as well as the finishing for all of the medal trays.

"Helping young and new Canadians grow their skill set is just as important to us as helping to finance high-performance athletes," said Claude Bernier. "When the lustre of the 2010 Winter Games fades, the people we've trained will move on to build their own podium and have a greater chance at supporting themselves by having a new outlook on life. Newly-built facilities we have helped to build will continue to welcome athletes and representatives from the community and beyond."

Fulfilling Our Role as Builders

As a National Partner, RONA has developed a five-year program in order to help prepare for the 2010 Winter Games. The RONA contribution was based on four pillars:

I. Supporting Canadian Athletes

With its Growing With Our Athletes program, RONA has contributed $4 million over a five-year period, from 2006 to 2010, to support 100 Canadian athletes. This financial support was designed to help athletes concentrate on their training to increase their chances of achieving a top performance. These athletes serve as role models especially for their determination and courage.

Furthermore, RONA's commitment to supporting elite athletes will continue through the company's role as a National Partner of the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Teams through to the London 2012 Olympic Games; this program started in 2006.

II. Helping to Build the Olympic Venues

RONA provided building materials, finishing materials, hardware and paint for more than a dozen venues, including the Vancouver Olympic Centre, the Richmond Olympic Oval and the University of British Columbia Thunderbird Arena. RONA also provided building materials for key infrastructure developments like the Sea to Sky Highway and the rapid transit link from Vancouver International Airport to downtown.

RONA also contributed building materials for the delivery of affordable housing units in six BC communities. Up to 150 permanent, affordable housing units will be made available to people most in need after the close of the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games. RONA will contribute the amount of $200,000 in order to outfit the homes with products available at RONA.

III. Helping At-Risk Youth - The RONA Vancouver 2010 Fabrication Shop

RONA has helped at-risk youth and new Canadians in the downtown east side by offering first-level Red Seal carpentry training at the RONA Vancouver 2010 Fabrication Shop in partnership with the VANOC. The operation has given a great boost of confidence to the 64 young people that made over 11,000 wooden items that will be used during the 2010 Winter Games. RONA has a longstanding commitment to helping at-risk youth learn a trade or stay in school.

After the Games, the RONA Foundation will actively pursue its mission of helping youth weakened by hardship or bad luck recover their strength and self-confidence and learn to work at a trade or pursue an education both in BC and across the country.

IV. Engaging Our Employees

Nearly 100 RONA employees will live the Olympic experience through the company's Vancouver 2010 volunteer program. After an internal selection process, and in cooperation with VANOC, RONA employees will work as volunteers at various Olympic venues.

"Our volunteers are RONA ambassadors to visitors from around the world," said Mr. Bernier. "We're very proud of each and every one of them and we know that they will make an important contribution to what will certainly be the best Olympic Winter Games in history."

About RONA

RONA is the largest Canadian distributor and retailer of hardware, renovation and gardening products. RONA operates a network of close to 700 corporate, franchise and affiliate stores of various sizes and formats. With nearly 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 billion in annual retail sales. For more information, please visit

Photo available upon request.

Contact Information

  • Media
    RONA Inc.
    Daniel Richard
    Director, Corporate Communications
    514-599-5900, extension 5751
    Financial Community
    RONA Inc.
    Stephane Milot
    Senior Director, Investor Relations
    On-site Interviews (Vancouver)
    RONA Inc.
    Julie Seidel
    Director, External Communications
    Cell: 514-237-8738