RONA Show 2011 - Customer Focus

RONA Show 2011 - Customer Focus

December 01, 2010 09:00 ET

RONA Honours the Entrepreneurs and Builders of the Year

BOUCHERVILLE, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - Dec. 1, 2010) - RONA inc. (TSX:RON), the largest Canadian distributor and retailer of hardware, renovation and gardening products, has presented the "Entrepreneur of the Year" Award to the most innovative and visionary affiliated dealers in its network, as well as the "Builder of Excellence" Award to the best-performing corporate stores. The awards were handed out at ceremonies held during the RONA 2011 Spring Show in Calgary, an internal event where dealer-owners and managers of RONA stores are invited to discover exclusive new products and services available as of spring 2011. RONA also recognized three dealer-owners for their leadership and initiative, as well as the managers of the ten stores that have performed the best. In addition, 217 employees in the RONA network were declared customer service Champions.


The "Entrepreneur of the Year" award represents the true spirit of RONA," said Jean-Luc Meunier, Senior Vice President, Affiliate Dealer-Owner Network Development. "They're our way of honouring the remarkable contribution of dealer-owners who have confronted new challenges with passion and drive, while focussing their efforts on providing the best possible customer service to the communities they serve. These people also stand out for their entrepreneurial spirit and exemplary work, which are key elements in the success and excellent reputation their stores enjoy in their respective markets."

The recipients of the 2010 "Entrepreneur of the Year" Award are:

Ontario and the Atlantic Provinces:

RONA Truax, Kingsville, Ontario

Owner: Jeremy Truax

Jeremy Truax is the owner of the RONA Truax store. He is one of the second generation of dealer-owners in the town of Kingsville, a highly competitive market in southern Ontario. He joined RONA in 2008, and one year later he completed a 7,000-sq.-ft. expansion to his store, where he also increased his product selection and revamped the storefront. Mr. Truax's entrepreneurial spirit and tireless efforts to remain at the leader in his market have contributed greatly to his store's success in recent years.

Western Canada:

MJ Palsson, Gimli, Manitoba

Owner: Marc Palsson

Marc Palsson owns the MJ Palsson store in Gimli, north of Winnipeg. This born entrepreneur managed numerous businesses of various types before entering the field of home renovation in 1999, with the opening of a 6,000-sq.-ft. store in Arborg, Manitoba. In April, 2008, Mr. Palsson joined the RONA network. Two years later, he opened a 14,000-sq.-ft. store in Gimli. His passion, talent and business acumen are among the qualities that make Marc Palsson a true entrepreneur.


Quincaillerie Gauvin, L'Ancienne-Lorette, Quebec

Owners: Stéphanie Morin and Jean Morin

Stéphanie and Jean Morin are from the third generation of owners of the Quincaillerie Gauvin, which for 35 years has occupied the same location in L'Ancienne-Lorette, near Quebec City. In 2009 and 2010, they invested a considerable amount in revamping their storefront, reorganizing the interior and adding the new STUDIO paint boutique. Young, ambitious and always looking to satisfy the needs of their growing clientele, Stéphanie Morin and Jean Morin are well-known as genuine entrepreneurs in their community.


The "Builders of Excellence" Award is presented to the ten stores judged to be the best performers in RONA's corporate and franchise network. The criteria used to measure their achievements include sales growth, profitability, quality of customer service and loss control.

"Builders of Excellence Awards are given to stores that set themselves apart through their excellent performance at all levels of their operations, but especially in terms of the quality of their customer service," said Mario St-Louis, Vice President of Store Operations for Eastern Canada. "It is also an honour for the entire team of the store, whose dedication to customers helps position their store as the best in their region."

This year's Builders of Excellence are:

Ontario and the Atlantic Provinces:

RONA, Belleville, Ontario, managed by Clark Stevens

RONA Home & Garden, Mississauga Heartland, Ontario, managed by John Verna

RONA (formerly Chester Dawe), Kelligrews, Newfoundland and Labrador, managed by John Fagan

Western Canada:

RONA Home & Garden, Grandview, British Columbia, managed by John Gatti

RONA Home & Garden, Millwoods, Alberta, managed by Brent Connelly

TOTEM Calgary Contract, Calgary, Alberta, managed by Justin Erdahl


RONA L'entrepôt, Brossard, managed by Luc Lamarre

RONA Le Régional, Drummondville, managed by Sylvain Courtemanche

Réno-Dépôt, LaSalle, managed by Annie Gingras

RONA Le Rénovateur, Thetford Mines, managed by Stéphane Després


"The aim of the Initia Award is to honour store managers who run their businesses like they were their own," Mr. St-Louis explained. "Their initiative, involvement, and leadership are qualities that make them great entrepreneurs who have a clear vision of RONA's future."

The 2010 "Initia" Award was presented to two store managers in the RONA network. In the category of proximity stores, the recipient was Kevin Dumontier of the RONA store in Sherwood Park, Alberta. In the big-box category, the "Initia" Award went to Bill Graham, who is responsible for the RONA Home & Garden stores located in Mississauga Heartland, Erin Mills and Mississauga, Ontario.


At the ceremony, RONA also rewarded the outstanding work of 217 employees who have distinguished themselves for excellence in customer service. As President and CEO Robert Dutton pointed out, "the 217 employees to whom we're paying tribute are people who work the front lines, people on whom the quality of our customer service depends. These are men and women with a natural sense of customer service, whose excellence is matched only by their enthusiasm and determination. They surpass themselves each day, always with the aim of satisfying their customers and supporting their teams."

In 2000, when RONA began its expansion across Canada, the company created the AGP program (Acknowledge, Guide, Provide) in an effort to develop employee skills with regard to customer service. Through this program, RONA promotes the kinds of behaviour employees should adopt when providing service. These are simple but profoundly human gestures that make all the difference in customer relations. Also included in the AGP program is a component that rewards employees who go out of their way to offer customers an unparalleled shopping experience. By the same token, RONA is encouraging employees to be their best and thanking them for consistently giving their best. 


RONA also presented the "Prestige Partner" Award to nine suppliers who have distinguished themselves in their respective product categories in regards to service, innovation and sales. The following companies received the "Prestige Partner" Award: Pylex, Moulding & Millwork, Kaycan, Bosch, Cooper Wiring Devices, Rust-Oleum, Venmar and Black & Decker Outdoor.

Demonstrating the importance RONA attaches to sustainability, a brand new award was given out this year: the Eco-responsible Award. AbitibiBowater became the first recipient of the Eco-responsible award in recognition of their efforts to develop eco-responsible products.

About RONA

RONA is the largest Canadian distributor and retailer of hardware, renovation and gardening products. RONA operates a network of nearly 700 corporate, franchise and affiliate stores of various sizes and formats. With close to 30,000 employees working under its family of banners in every region of Canada and more than 16 million square feet of retail space, the RONA store network generates over $6 billion in annual retail sales. For more information, please visit

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