October 06, 2009 09:12 ET

RONA Celebrates its 70th...700 Times Over!

BOUCHERVILLE, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - Oct. 6, 2009) - RONA Inc. (TSX:RON), the largest Canadian distributor and retailer of hardware, home renovation and gardening products, is today celebrating the 70th anniversary of its founding. It was on October 6, 1939, that the association that was to become RONA - Les Marchands en Quincaillerie Limitee - first saw the light of day in Montreal. Today at some 700 stores and other RONA sites across Canada, employees will be celebrating seven decades of prosperous business and continuous expansion.

RONA president and CEO Robert Dutton took the opportunity to pay tribute to RONA's affiliate dealer-owners, the driving force behind the company's success from day one. "RONA was born out of the determination of the business visionaries that have steered our course from 1939 until today. The contribution made by RONA affiliate dealer-owners is at the very core of our success and remains vital as ever to our continued growth," he said.

In addition, Dutton mentioned, "These internal celebrations are above all to show our gratitude to our employees. RONA is Canada's industry leader because our excellent customer service makes every customer the focus of our attention. Our employees can be proud of their work, in their offices or their stores. They can also be proud of the organization's past and of their own confident look to the future."

Sharing these same values and the conviction that every customer has different needs, RONA employees strive to offer the best of both worlds: the personalized service of a neighbourhood store and the support and efficiency of a major, nationwide network. The stores have changed, but the service is the same - thanks to RONA employees.

A short history of RONA

On October 6, 1939, just as our planet was plunging into the Second World War, a half dozen Quebec hardware dealers founded Les Marchands en Quincaillerie Limitee. Their goal was to allow members to combine their orders to get the best prices for themselves and for their customers. The company bylaws show that its mission was to "pursue wholesale and retail commerce as hardware and ironware dealers." The group's first order was a load of brooms, transported from Toronto to Montreal in the fall of 1939.

A few years later, Rolland Dansereau and Napoleon Piotte took over management of the organization and formed Quincaillerie Ro-Na, using the first two letters of their names. After establishing profitable partnerships, particularly with Canadian and American wholesalers, the company changed its name and its bylaws in pursuit of its objectives. Quincaillerie Ro-Na became first Les Marchands Ro-Na, then Le Groupe Ro-Na Inc., Le Groupe Ro-Na Dismat and finally, in 1998, RONA Inc.

Thanks to its cooperative formula, the company never stopped growing, eventually stretching all the way across Canada. In the process, it acquired a number of other chains, including Botanix, Cashway Building Centres and Revy Home Centres. After it went public in 2002, RONA additionally acquired Reno-Depot, Totem Building Supplies, Chester Dawe and Noble Trade.

RONA's expansion grew out of a series of decisive alliances among dynamic, forward-thinking entrepreneurs. In Robert Dutton's words, "Every time our people made teamwork and collective interest the foundation of a project, it turned into a success. That's why unity - our founding principle - and the search for the common good are our cornerstone values."

Over the course of its history, RONA has set itself apart through innovations, particularly in logistics, store concepts and sales promotions, including major distribution centres in Boucherville and Calgary, and in the launch of its first big-box stores in the 1990s.

Throughout this period, RONA has continually increased its social and environmental commitment, supporting many causes and launching its own foundation to help underprivileged young people 12 to 30 years old. In recent years, the company has also provided extensive support for Canadian Olympic hopefuls and especially the 2010 Games in Vancouver, where RONA is a national partner. With a strong commitment to sustainable development, the company also pioneered paint recovery programs and recently launched a line of RONA ECO products that are more respectful of the environment than equivalent conventional items over their entire life cycle.

About RONA

RONA is 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 over 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. Please visit

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