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New-Concept RONA Store Opens in Whitby, Ontario

RONA invests $20 million and creates 150 local jobs

WHITBY, ONTARIO -- (MARKET WIRE) -- 10/24/07 -- RONA Inc. (TSX: RON), the largest Canadian distributor and retailer of hardware, renovation and gardening products, officially unveiled its new RONA Whitby store today. The opening of the 100,000-square-foot big-box store, at 1400 Victoria Street East, represents a $20 million investment in Whitby and creates over 150 new jobs. It's the 169th RONA point of sale in Ontario.

RONA Whitby is the Company's first big-box store in Ontario to use only the name "RONA" with no additional designation such as "Home & Garden". To gradually standardize the names of its stores, RONA is planning to use this approach with new stores as they are built and existing stores as they are renovated.

"The Greater Toronto Area is enjoying healthy economic and demographic development and combines older, established neighbourhoods and new residential sectors. These conditions are ideal for RONA's product and service offer. The RONA Whitby store benefits from all the latest innovations in terms of signage, specialized boutiques and services, including our recently introduced Project Guide service as well as our installation services," explained Pierre Dandoy, RONA Executive Vice President of big-box stores.

"The new Whitby store fits perfectly into our unique business model, which allows us to meet the specific needs of all the different communities we serve, no matter what their size or location, with stores of different formats. We're very proud to offer this customized formula to people around the area," he added.

Everything under one roof

Experienced do-it-yourselfers, first-time homeowners and the trade will all find what they need in the customer-friendly, 100,000-square-foot store. Along with its vast sales area, the store boasts a spacious greenhouse, a 16,000-square-foot outdoor garden centre and a 27,000-square-foot lumberyard. RONA Whitby offers a full selection of over 30,000 different products, 90% of them from Canadian suppliers.

"We've been hard at work for months in preparing for today. The whole team is very enthusiastic about welcoming customers from the Durham region to an innovative store that features a very well-planned layout to make finding products easier, quality products at competitive prices, and personalized service. Our goal is to give our customers a helping hand in completing their projects and to really exceed their expectations in the process," said store manager Doug Keeling.

The RONA big-box formula offers all the service advantages of a neighbourhood hardware store and all the attractions of a 100,000-square-foot store. RONA Whitby offers construction materials, finishing materials and specialized boutiques including paint, the latest decoration accessories, kitchen and bathroom cabinets, doors and windows as well as flooring.

Unlike anything else in the home improvement sector, RONA boutiques are designed to support the renovation process and make it more efficient. They allow customers to find everything they need to complete a renovation project in one single place. With the same idea in mind, the Company just launched its new Project Guide service, an all-new concept offering the help of knowledgeable, specially-trained staff who guide customers through the different stages of specific renovation projects. Meanwhile, the "RONA by Design" renovation and interior decoration concept offers suggestions and solutions to manage projects such as bathrooms, facades or kitchens.

Specialized services at the new RONA Whitby also include installation, woodcutting, delivery and a separate counter for contractors.

RONA, supporting athletes and youth

Accompanying Pierre Dandoy at the opening ceremony were Regional Councillor Joe Drumm (representing Whitby Mayor Pat Perkins and the Town Council), Nancy Shaw (representing Federal MP Jim Flaherty), members of the RONA senior management team, new store employees and many customers. Two of the athletes that RONA sponsors through the "Growing with our Athletes" program also took part in the opening ceremony: Jennifer Botterill, Olympic gold medallist in women's hockey, and sailing champion Christopher Cook.

RONA has made a commitment to support Canadian athletes through its "Growing with our Athletes" program, which offers financial support to 100 top-level athletes practising winter or summer sports, whether they're already Olympians or headed in that direction. Every RONA store in Canada is paired with one of these athletes to increase community support and participation.

During the Whitby store opening ceremony, the RONA Foundation presented a $5,000 donation to Durham Children's Aid Society (CAS) Post Secondary Education Fund. Most young people have family support to help them make the transition to living independently, but youth in the care of CAS have no one to give them a hand with the cost of post-secondary education. This program aims at helping youth access the necessary tools and education to prepare them for adult life. Today's donation marks the arrival of the new Whitby store and the RONA Foundation's efforts to help build better communities.

Created in 1998, the RONA Foundation provides assistance for young people aged 12 to 30 by supporting local organizations and projects that fight school dropout rates and illiteracy or that offer them training so that they can take up a trade or a profession. The RONA Foundation is dedicated to helping troubled young people believe in themselves and in their future again - for their own benefit and for the good of their community.

About RONA

RONA Inc. is the largest Canadian distributor and retailer of hardware, home renovation and gardening products. RONA operates a network of 673 corporate, franchise and affiliate stores of various sizes and formats. With over 26,000 employees working under its family of banners in every region of Canada and more than 14 million square feet of retail space, the RONA store network now generates close to $6 billion in annual retail sales.

For more information, please visit the RONA website at rona.ca.

Digital photos of the opening ceremonies are available.

Eva Boucher-Hartling, Director, External Relations
514-599-5900 x5114
Cell phone: 514-237-8738

Torchia Communications
Lawrence Stevenson, APR
416-341-9929 x222
Cell phone: 416-554-4545

Financial Community
Stephane Milot
Senior Director, Investor Relations

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