October 28, 2009 09:00 ET

Two RONA Dealers Win Outstanding Retailer Awards

RONA dealers in Penticton, B.C. and Mont-Laurier, Quebec are honoured for their operational excellence

BOUCHERVILLE, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - Oct. 28, 2009) -

Photo is included with this press release.

RONA Inc. (TSX:RON), the largest Canadian distributor and retailer of hardware, home renovation and gardening products, is proud to announce that two RONA dealers have received Outstanding Retailer Awards, which are among the home improvement industry's highest marks of recognition for overall excellence.

The awards were presented in Toronto on October 22nd by the industry trade magazine Hardware Merchandising during the awards gala at the annual Hardlines Conference. Winners were selected by an independent panel of industry experts and journalists, who ranked stores entered by the major retail groups according to ten criteria that included customer service, staff training, merchandising, marketing and community involvement.

The RONA winners are:

- Outstanding Building Supply / Home Centre Over 25,000 Square Feet: RONA Home Centre, Penticton, B.C. This is a 52,000-square-foot store with an 8,000-square-foot garden centre and a 2 acre lumberyard located at 348 Duncan Avenue West in downtown Penticton. It is jointly-owned by RONA and the Mielke family. Store manager Rick Mielke is a well-known and highly-respected local businessman with almost four decades of experience in Canadian home improvement retailing. The store houses a wide inventory of some 20,000 products and is subdivided into "boutiques" for paint, lighting, kitchen and bathroom cabinetry, mouldings, doors and windows-and more. RONA was a pioneer of this "store-within-the-store" home improvement retail format in Canada and the Penticton store was, in fact, the first such store of its type in Western Canada when it opened in October 2005. After four years of consistently excellent customer service, as well as significant community involvement, the RONA Home Centre in Penticton remains at the top of its class.

- Outstanding Young Retailer: Eric Deslongchamps, RONA Mont-Laurier and RONA F. Daudelin & Son, Riviere-Rouge, Quebec. The Outstanding Young Retailer award is presented to a Canadian home improvement retailer (either a store owner or an executive at a chain) who is 35 years of age or younger and who demonstrates exceptional management skill and leadership. Eric Deslongchamps, 34, is a third-generation RONA dealer. His grandfather, who established the family's first retail business, was one of the very first RONA dealers in Canada. Today, Eric owns two of his own RONA stores in the Hautes-Laurentides region of Quebec, northwest of Mont-Tremblant. Eric's 23,000-square-foot RONA store in Mont-Laurier, which he purchased in 2006 and immediately renovated and expanded, now provides local residents with a range of products, superbly presented, that were not previously available in this community. Eric acquired his second store, RONA F. Daudelin & Son in nearby Riviere-Rouge, in January of this year, purchasing it from long-time RONA dealer Normand Daudelin, who retired. Eric has begun to make dynamic improvements to this 7,000-square-foot retail business (plus lumberyard), which has a proud 60-year history of its own.

"We at RONA are very proud of these award-winning dealers who, along with their dedicated and passionate staff, have worked so hard to give their customers such a great home improvement shopping experience," said Jean-Luc Meunier, senior vice-president, affiliate dealer-owner network development. "The vision and determination of dealers like Rick and Eric have been a major part of RONA's growth since our foundation 70 years ago. Encouraging the continued success of our local dealer-owners will be a major part of our future success."

"We are honoured by the fact that RONA has now won 21 Outstanding Retailer Awards since these awards were established in 1992," said Pierre Dandoy, executive vice-president of retail operations. "Over the years, we are also the only retailer to have won in each of the different award categories: from smaller hardware stores to mid-sized home centres and building supply stores, to big boxes. This is very gratifying, because we have set out to reach the highest level of excellence in all of our store types, listening to our customers and providing them with the different formats and concepts that cater to their needs and wants. We are specialists of the consumer, not of one particular format."

"Our 2009 Outstanding Retailer Award winners continue to demonstrate that Canadian-owned and -operated hardware and building supply stores remain among the best in their class in North America," said Frank Condron, editor of Hardware Merchandising magazine and chair of the judging panel. "Even in a year of economic difficulty, great retailers like this year's winners have continued to inspire their customers to make improvements to their most important and cherished investments: their homes."

About RONA

RONA is the largest Canadian distributor and retailer of hardware, home 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 15 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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