RONA Completes Nationwide Transformation with Launch of RONA+ and Pilot Conversion of Réno-Dépôt Stores in Quebec [Interview/Photos]

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Canadian retail giant RONA has completed the transition of 56 stores from the Lowe’s brand to RONA+ throughout the country and now has launched as well a pilot project of changing the banners on its Réno-Dépôt stores in Quebec to RONA+.

Catherine Laporte

Catherine Laporte, Senior Vice-President, Marketing and Customer Experience with RONA, said the first Lowe’s conversion took place last July and the last one was February 29.

Laporte said all the former Lowe’s locations were converted.

“Basically RONA+ the idea was that it was RONA and the best of Lowe’s. So that was like the initial idea where we wanted to give the best of RONA which especially in the west of Canada has been known mostly for building materials and less of a big box footprint and bringing some of the best things of Lowe’s which was the decor, the services, the home decor services and bringing this together. That was the original idea,” said Laporte.

“As we moved towards that, because we have a larger footprint than a regular RONA store, we will be including more experiences within the stores. So think of shop in shop with key vendors, think of like more experiences on the weekend. We are still crafting and developing this strategy but this is the intent behind the (RONA+).”

The new RONA+ banner is now in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario.

RONA+ (CNW Group/RONA inc.)
Inside the new RONA+ store at Emerald Hills in Sherwood Park, Alberta. Photo: Christa Patterson

RONA has a network of 425 corporate and affiliated dealer stores from coast to coast with its four banners RONA+, RONA, Réno-Dépôt and Dick’s Lumber.

There are currently 20 Réno-Dépôt stores in Quebec, with three to be converted to RONA+ stores in the next few weeks.

There is a network over 200 affiliated dealer stores across Canada.

Since it has different types of stores in its network, including big boxes and proximity stores, the size of each store varies. The average size of a RONA or RONA+ store in Canada is about 100,000 to 117,000 square feet. But the network is very diversified and there are also smaller stores, including small urban stores or smaller stores that boast a large lumber yard.

Laporte said no new stores are planned for the company as it is focused on the conversions. 

New RONA+ store at Emerald Hills in Sherwood Park, Alberta. Photo: Christa Patterson

She said the success of the RONA+ rollout has led to another pilot project in Québec with the planned conversion of the Hull Réno-Dépôt to the RONA+ banner as a first step, followed by the Sherbrooke and Charlemagne Réno-Dépôt stores later this spring. 

“This will pave the way for the imminent arrival of this new banner in Québec. Through this process, the company is looking to build on the strong legacy of the RONA brand and build momentum for this beloved Canadian-operated household name,” said the company.

Laporte said this is the most significant repositioning of the RONA brand in the last two decades. 

“We’re refocusing our marketing around RONA, putting this brand, with its 85 years of history and consumer trust, at the core of our efforts. By emphasizing our commitment to our customers, the uniqueness of our stores, and our relationship with local communities, we reinforce the values of proximity and commitment that distinguish our network,” she said.

Image: RONA
Inside the new RONA+ store at Emerald Hills in Sherwood Park, Alberta. Photo: Christa Patterson

RONA is also launching a new visual identity, only for RONA affiliated dealers. It aims to support the organization’s ambition to become the strongest network of affiliated dealers in the country. The outdoor signage and the interior branding elements of these stores were redesigned to highlight the entrepreneurial spirit of independent RONA dealers and capitalize on the brand’s notoriety. The new identity will be deployed in RONA affiliated stores starting mid-April.

“One of the key strategic pillars of the RONA relaunch has been the dealers. What we wanted to signify and make clear to the customers is that some of these stores are independently operated,” explained Laporte. “So they will have new facades and new outdoor signs which clearly calls out that this store is operated by an independent merchant.

“The other piece is as you can appreciate some of them have been with us for more than 50 years or close to 60 years and for each of them they have value, they have specific value, specific history. And we wanted them to be able to call out at the community level. These are some of the small initiatives but meaningful initiatives that we’re making to really differentiate the dealer network from the RONA+ and from the corporate stores.”

Inside the new RONA+ store at Emerald Hills in Sherwood Park, Alberta. Photo: Christa Patterson
Inside the new RONA+ store at Emerald Hills in Sherwood Park, Alberta. Photo: Christa Patterson

In a statement, Andrew Iacobucci, President and CEO of RONA, said: 

Andrew Iacobucci

“We are making major investments in our brand, which has been a household name in Canada for nearly 85 years and this is just the beginning. Now that we’re fully Canadian-operated, we have a tremendous opportunity to rethink how we serve Canadians with the products and service they rightfully expect from RONA, on every channel they use.”

The Réno-Dépôt store in Hull will be the first in the province to convert to the new banner in March, followed by the Sherbrooke and Charlemagne stores in April. Laporte said the results of these three store conversions will determine if the rest of the brand will be converted.

Isabelle Laliberté

“This is an important step towards realizing our vision for the future of RONA. We are confident that this pilot project will bring positive results and lead the way for the upcoming arrival of this new banner in Quebec,” added Isabelle Laliberté, Senior Vice-President, Corporate Stores – Quebec, at RONA inc. “Our priority in this transition is to offer the best possible experience to our customers in the Hull, Sherbrooke and Charlemagne regions; we will continue to serve them with the same passion.”

The changes are being reinforced with RONA’s new advertising campaign, imagined by Sid Lee, which is centred on people who love to create, bringing together professional experts and DIYers. Without being too serious, it adopts an engaging and entertaining tone, encouraging conversation while remaining refreshing and philosophical, said the company.

To watch the very first ad to be broadcasted as part of this campaign, click HERE.

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior News Editor with Retail Insider in addition to working as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training. Mario was named as a RETHINK Retail Top Retail Expert in 2024.

2 COMMENTS

  1. UGLY! Is this Best Buy or Ikea? I can’t tell. Rona needs a remodel of these ugly colour schemes and if I was Best Buy or Ikea I would sue Rona for identity theft and brand confusion. Absolute stupidity.

  2. Wow, Tom is out of touch. New colours for Rona, sure don’t make it look like Best Buy or Ikea. Keep going Rona, it was time for a makeover after the disaster that Lowes created. You made your mark on Canada years ago and will do so again. Home Depot does need competition.

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