RONA’s path since 1939, when it was founded, is marked with important decisions and events that have made the Corporation what it is today: a major Canadian retailer and distributor of hardware, building materials and home renovation products.
It was in 1939 that a group of hardware retailers formed Les Marchands en Quincailleries Ltée in order to bypass a monopoly that was threatening their access to supplies. Their aim was to secure better prices by pooling their orders. A few years later, Rolland Dansereau and Napoléon Piotte took charge of the company that would eventually become Le Groupe RONA Inc.
Incorporation of Quincaillerie Ro-Na Inc. The name "Ro-Na" comes from the first two letters of the names of Rolland Dansereau, then President, and Napoléon Piotte, then External Relations officer.
Acquisition of Les Marchands en Quincaillerie Ltée by a group of hardware retailers led by Napoléon Piotte. This transaction represents the most significant event in the organization's history, as it marks the beginning of the cooperative system and the current grouping.
Death of Napoléon Piotte and appointment of Charles Morency, a hardware retailer from Québec City, as President of both companies.
Quincaillerie Ro-Na Ltée is dissolved and the name of Les Marchands en Quincaillerie Ltée is changed to Marchands Ro-Na Inc.
Move to the new building in Boucherville, Québec.
Ro-Na begins selling interior decorating products through specialized "Ambiance" boutiques.
Ro-Na and the Ontario-based Home Hardware Stores Ltd. – a similar group with a national scope – form a purchasing alliance through an affiliated company known as Alliance RONA Home Inc.
Merger with Dismat, another retail building materials group. This transaction confirms the Corporation's future success and launches the Ro-Na Dismat name.
The Ro-Na Dismat Group decides to boost its buying power. Already associated with Home Hardware Stores Ltd., representing over 1,000 merchants across Canada, the Group pursues a further alliance with Hardware Wholesalers Inc., based in Fort Wayne, Indiana, which includes over 3,000 retailers in the United States.
Ro-Na Dismat opens its first big-box stores under the RONA L'entrepôt banner.
The Corporation refurbishes its banners and eliminates the Le Quincailleur and Dismat names. At the same time, two new banners, RONA L'express and RONA L'express Matériaux, are introduced. The Ro-Na Dismat Group Inc. changes its name to RONA Inc.
The RONA Le Rénovateur Régional banner is launched. It combines the practicality of a big-box store with the character of a more traditional neighbourhood hardware store.
RONA opens an ultramodern 650,000-square-foot distribution centre adjacent to its new headquarters in Boucherville, Québec. With this facility, RONA doubles its warehouse capacity and achieves significant savings.
The 2000s marked a new period of dramatic commercial expansion for RONA. The Corporation's growth strategy focused on internal growth, acquisitions, building new stores and recruiting new dealer-owners under the RONA banner.
Already the clear market leader in Québec, the Corporation set its sights on Ontario and Western Canada to expand the RONA network.
From 2000 to 2005, RONA is in acquisition mode. The Corporation takes over the 66 stores of the Cashway Building Centre chain, the industry's
third-largest player in Ontario.
This is followed by the acquisition of 51 Revy Home Center, Lansing Buildall and Revelstoke stores located from Ontario to British Columbia.
The Corporation also acquires Réno-Dépôt/The Building Box, with 20 big-box stores in Québec and Ontario, as well as 16 Totem Building Supplies outlets in Alberta.
In November 2002, RONA (TSX: RON) achieved another milestone, entering the stock market with an initial public offering of common shares worth $150.1 million.
In February 2006, RONA acquired a 51% stake in Matériaux Coupal, as well as six Curtis Lumber outlets and the Mountain Building Center chain in British Columbia.
That same year, RONA turned its attention to Newfoundland and Labrador, acquiring eight Chester Dawe stores.
In the fall of 2007, RONA adds three more stores with the acquisition of Vancouver's lumber, building supply and hardware specialist, Dick's Lumber.
To offset the cyclical nature of the business, in 2007 RONA acquires Noble Trade Inc., one of the largest plumbing and heating wholesalers in Ontario, with an impressive commercial and professional customer base.
RONA adds three Best-MAR plumbing, heating and air-conditioning stores in the Ottawa/Gatineau area to the list of acquisitions
In June, RONA completes its acquisition of Pierceys stores in the Halifax area, contributing to the Corporation's expansion in Atlantic Canada.
RONA announces the addition of an important distributor, TruServ Canada, to its brand portfolio. This new business allows RONA to better serve its extensive network of independent retailers operating under other banners all across Canada.
RONA's business plan for 2012 acknowledges the necessity of adapting the Corporation's value proposition to the new expectations and changing habits of consumers.
Seven years after acquiring the 19 Totem stores in Alberta, the Corporation begins their integration and transformation into RONA proximity format stores.
At the end of 2012, RONA announces the departure of Robert Dutton, then President and CEO, after 35 years of service. Mr. Dutton had been President and CEO since 1992.
On January 21, RONA announces a number of changes to its Board of Directors, notably the appointment of Robert Chevrier as Executive Chairman.
In March, the Board of Directors – including eight new members – announces the appointment of Robert Sawyer as President and CEO. Under his leadership, a series of reorganization measures are implemented in order to accelerate the transformation in progress and improve the Corporation's profitability.
In October, the Corporation announces the sale of the assets of its Commercial and Professional Market Division, specializing in plumbing, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.
In November, RONA acquires the remaining 49% of the shares of Groupe Coupal Inc., doing business under the name Matériaux Coupal, a banner that specializes in the sale of lumber and building materials to contractors.
Also during 2013, the Réno-Dépôt banner is redefined to better meet the needs of its primary clients: professional contractors and expert DIYers. In December, RONA completes the transformation of the store in St-Hubert, Québec, the first of 16 stores to feature the new concept. The new concept is closer to Réno-Dépôt's original positioning. It will be rolled out to the rest of the Reno-Dépôt outlets during 2014.
RONA maintains a special focus on customer experience in each of its four major store categories: RONA big-box stores, the Réno-Dépôt banner, RONA proximity stores and contractor specialists. In each case, all of the brand's pillars, including product selection and in-store services, will be reviewed and aligned with the target customer bases.