RONA: Doing it right

March 5, 2022

American-owned, Rona, Inc., is a Canadian home improvement retailer. With products and services for both do-it-yourselfers and construction professionals, RONA offers all the latest products, tools and services.

RONA has 357 retail store locations across Canada.

Back to the beginning…
In 1939, the year WWII began, RONA was founded as “Les Marchands en Quincaillerie” (The Merchants of Hardware). It was an alliance of independent Montreal-area hardware retailers who wanted to increase their buying power, bypass wholesalers and buy directly from manufacturers.

So, how did RONA get its name?
Two of the founders of RONA, Rolland Dansereau and Napoleon Piotte, took the first two letters of each of their first names and created the store name RONA. On July 20, 1960, the name RONA was officially adopted.

In 1982, RONA purchased the assets of Botanix, and in 1984, created a purchasing alliance with Ontario-based Home Hardware Stores Ltd. through Alliance Rona Home Inc.

The RONA company was busy over the next several years as it merged in 1988 with Dismat, another building materials company. Together, they created the RONA Dismat Group Inc.

An alliance was formed in 1990 between RONA and Hardware Wholesalers, based in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

In 1997, RONA formed another purchasing alliance with ITM Entreprises S.A., a France-based group.

In 1999, RONA opened a 654,000 square feet (61,000 m²) warehouse next door to its headquarters. This effectively doubled its warehousing space.

RONA acquired the 66 stores of Ontario-based Cashway Building Centres in 2000, and later that year RONA opened its online store on the website.

In 2001, RONA expanded its chain again, when it acquired 51 Revy Home and Garden stores and Revelstoke Home Centres (all based in Western Canada), as well as Ontario-based Lansing stores.

In 2002 RONA opened its third large distribution centre in Calgary, Alberta, and in 2004 acquired Alberta-based Totem Building Supplies Limited. In the same year, RONA joined the Air Miles Award Program.

In 2012, the  Lowe’s attempted to buy RONA, but RONA shareholders objected, so the deal was eventually called off. In 2016, Lowe’s finally acquired RONA for $3.2 billion.

On February 3, 2016, RONA announced that it had accepted an offer to be acquired by Lowe’s for CDN$3.2 billion. Lowe’s planned to keep the RONA retail banners, and to continue employing most of its current employees and key executives. In December 2016, Lowe’s announced that it planned to convert selected RONA-branded stores to the Lowe’s brand.

With close to 30,000 employees working under its family of banners in every region of Canada, the RONA store network generates consolidated sales of $4.8 billion and over $6 billion taking into account the total impact of the retail sales of franchise dealers, affiliates and other independent dealers.

Gloria Sauvé
Communications and Marketing

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