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Oop Loves Hardware Stores

Oop Loves Hardware Stores

June 18th, 2009  · stk

Scott and Alex attend the Grand Opening of the new Chase River RONA store. (RONA is a Canadian-based hardware store). They were thrilled to get some free hardware swag! The new store cuts our hardware store driving time from 32 kilometers to 13 kilometers. Yay!

Rona Hardware Store: Grand Opening in Chase River

Save at RONA - Price Matching
Chase River Development - Sandstone

This morning, I mentioned to the Oop, "Rona is having their big Grand Opening today at 9 AM. If we go, we can get some free gifts!"

Being a lover of hardware stores (and gifts), Alex was immediately excited!

"I wanna go! Let's go! I'll go get dressed, right now" she said, bounding from the chair in which she was sitting and abandoning the computer game she was playing (Webkinz World).

We drove to the new hardware store in Chase River (just across the Island Highway from South Gate Center). It's a good thing we got there at 8:30 AM, as the gift bags were for the first 100 customers and there was already a line-up of about 50 people or so.

We waited a half hour (which is like a day and a half in 5-year-old waiting time). Towards the end, Alex's patience was wearing thin, despite the prospect of free stuff. As we finally walked through the front door, we were each greeted by a Rona employee, who handed us a re-usable shopping bag, filled with a Rona ball cap, a tape measure and a $10 gift certificate.

In addition to a bag, the Oop also got a helium balloon and (several) cookies. Dad bought a 4-foot piano hinge (to be used as a project with Alex, in making a dozen or so new bird houses, which we'll nail to trees around the yard and pasture).

For more about the Rona Grand Opening adventure and what it means to us, read on ...

The RONA Homecentre in Chase River

1250, Island Hwy. South
Nanaimo BC, V9R 6R5
Phone : 250-734-4450
b/c it's not in the new phone book

After successfully opening RONA home centers in nearby Duncan and Cobble Hill, Pacific Building Systems contracted the Colborne Architectural group to design the 46,000 square-foot RONA store on the Island Highway (Hwy. No. 1), in Chase River. The large-format, single-story retail outlet sits on a 4.2-acre site, offering 128 parking stalls and a drive-through lumber yard.

Local planning guidelines required a "Finnish Agrarian" look, which resulted in the use of heavy timber and stone-clad detail on the metal-clad, steel building. The new site is nicely landscaped, especially along the main highway. The design attempts to include sustainable strategies, such as and on-site storm water catchment, efficient electric heat-pump HVAC system and energy-efficient electrical fixtures.

The estimated cost of the project is $6.5 million dollars.


18-Oct-2009 | Shopping at RONA

RONA has been open for a while and we've had an opportunity to shop at the store many times, since it first opened in June. Here's a quick run-down on our experiences and some quick tips, which we hope will save you money.

First the good stuff: It's absolutely wonderful to have a home center on the south end of Nanaimo. Traveling 35 or so kilometers to Home Depot, from Yellow Point, makes for a very long round trip. To top it off, RONA has a much better staff-to-customer ratio and it's a Canadian company (we like supporting local and Canadian businesses). We also like loading lumber directly into our vehicle, which saves us time (although, it's not much fun when it's raining).

The negatives include: higher prices for most things, commonly understocked (Home Depot isn't much better here) and limited selection (we wish the store had been a tad bigger).

There's not much we can do about the store size, though I would like to see less of an emphasis on 'consumer products' and more on 'building materials'. We do notify someone if we notice a shortage of materials (we had to really hunt and peck through the PVC pipe to find the sizes & thicknesses we needed, on one trip).

Prices are something we can do something about, since RONA has a 'price match guarantee'. By calling around and comparing prices for like-items, we were able to save 14% when we purchased some pressure-treated 6x6 posts. Getting the lower price was easy, Rachel just told them she'd found them lower at a competing store and told them what the prices were. I don't think they even called to verify, but be prepared, as they might in your case.

When preparing to write this update, I scoured the Internet to find an official copy of the RONA 'lowest price guarantee' policy. Unfortunately, I couldn't find one on the website (which I thought was odd). I did, however, find (via chat forums) much confusion about the RONA policy. Some say it applies only to flyer items, others only building materials, some report that it varies from store-to-store and others say RONA is supposed to beat the lowest price by 10% (In our case they just match the price).

The only thing "official" I found, was this Press Release, in which a RONA Exec VP said, "RONA also continues to deploy efforts to offer Canadian consumers the lowest prices, as stated in our price guarantee policy".

So, I wrote Mr. Claude Bernier a letter, asking him for clarification on the RONA price guarantee policy and I will post his reply, when I get it. (It'd be nice to know, once and for all, eh?)

In the meantime, if you shop at RONA for your remodeling materials, it might very well be worth your while to call around when purchasing supplies. Our 14% savings saved us $23 on a $160 purchase. It adds up!


Chase River Development Surge

As one drives south from Nanaimo, the first distinct settlement is called "Chase River", though it's often incorrectly referred to as "South Nanaimo". For the past decade or so, it's been the north end of town that's received all the growth, but recently, that's begun to change.

The opening of a new Rona hardware store in Chase River means we won't have to drive all the way from our Yellow Point Home to the Home Depot, at the north end of Nanaimo. The distance to Home Depot is 32 kilometers. The new Rona cuts the drive by over half, as it's only 13 kilometers away. As an added bonus, it's a Canadian-owned franchise.

In addition to the new Hardware store, there has been other new business developments in Chase River. Cranberry Fire Department built a brand new fire hall, which was completed this year. Also new this year is a Mid-Island Co-op gas station and the Country Market grocery store, all close to South Gate Center.

The global recession may have delayed or dampened a few of the local developments, but our Fire Chief (who reviews all development plans for fire safety and prevention issues) says that he's had quite a number of plans cross his desk. Further, he predicts that once the recession is over, it'll re-ignite a building boom in the Chase River and North Cedar areas.

And why not? With clean, fresh air ... beautiful ocean views ... mildest climate in Canada ... fishing, hunting, camping and other recreational activities ... it's a pretty great location!

Rachel has complained about Yellow Point being so far from services, stores and other amenities found in town. Frankly, I feel it's one of the benefits of living a rural lifestyle, but having grown up in the city of Vancouver, I can appreciate her perspective. Things are changing, however, as development will push the city, closer and closer to our country hide-a-way.

Sandstone: 18-Oct-2009 To follow up on developments in the Cedar & Chase River areas, I thought I'd include information about the new, proposed South Nanaimo Lands community, named "Sandstone".

The Nanaimo News Bulletin reported that Island Wolf Properties, a joint venture between Snuneymuxw First Nations and Northwest Properties, completed their master plan for Sandstone. They presented the plan, which was proposed in 2007, to the public on September 15th.

As proposed, Sandstone is a 295-hectare (approximately 730-acre) development, located at the south end of Nanaimo, adjacent to Chase River, Reserve lands, Cinnibar Valley & Cedar. The development includes high-density, medium-density & low-density residential living, retail, commercial, industrial & recreation zoning. (Nanaimo city council adopted the proposal into the Official Community Plan in 2007 and extended city limits to include the development).

More Information: Download & read the 146-page Sandstone master plan (PDF File | 5.02 MegaBytes). Plan includes details on trails, sidewalks, number of units, proposed Duke Point Highway access on|off ramps, etc.

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1.flag Lorelei Comment
I would have thought that Rona would be eager for business. Here it is August & it's still incredibly difficult to find a phone number for the Chase River outlet!
2.flag stk Comment
Lorelei - It took me only a few seconds to locate the new store on the website. (I just plugged in our postal code and a search radius distance in kilometers).

Here's the information that showed:

1250, Island Hwy. South
Nanaimo BC, V9R 6R5
Phone : 250-734-4450
Fax : 250-753-4414

I assume the new store will be listed in the Yellow Pages next year.
3.flag stk Comment
LOL ... Just got the new phonebook and I can't find RONA in there anywhere (white or yellow pages) so I've added the address and phone info to the article.

Also, I've not yet received the courtesy of a reply from the letter I wrote to the V.P., which is more than disappointing. I did, however, receive an email reply to my query about price-matching. (The language was very ambiguous).

It's disconcerting that RONA doesn't reply to correspondence, but promotes a price guarantee without making the terms public. :(
4.flag Maryann Comment
I recently had to return an item and I must say it was the most pleasant exchange I have ever done. I'm thrilled to have a Rona in the south end of Nanaimo, and every time I shop there I am impressed with the friendliness and customer service. Keep up the good work!
5.flag C. Torvik Comment
We had French doors installed 4 yrs ago - metal ones which are suppose to last forever - rain was coming in the corner and I called Rona two times. Rona sent representatives out and they said, "No, everything is fine." Well, it is not fine. Where the leak was occurring now had rotted the inside corner of the door. When we had an insurance person over, we were further advised that the hinges are on the outside. Door hinges should be on the inside! (If they're on the outside, they are easily burglarized and - the insurance company said - there would be no coverage. Who would be responsible? - C. Torvik, Nanaimo, B.C.
6.flag stk Comment
C. Torvik - I certainly can appreciate your situation. Unfortunately, the ultimate responsibility lies with the homeowner.

My understanding is that RONA doesn't "do" the work, but rather, they rely on 3rd-party contractors.

My first step would be to re-contact RONA and have them come out for another visit. Explain the wrong-doing (exterior hinges + shoddy workmanship) and advise them of what your insurance company said.

If that doesn't work, I'd contact the 3rd-party contractor that did the work and ask that they "make it right".

The last step is up to you, but maybe contacting the local newspaper, news channel, Better Business Bureau or anyone else that will listen ... might result in some action.

I feel your pain and wish you luck!
7.flag David Trudel Comment
Just did a random search for RONA and came across your page.

Great job....this i hope encourages people to shop local....The orange American giant on the north end may have a bigger store and more product, but i prefer the shopability of this new Nanaimo location.... definitely can use some help in keeping in stock, but overall for myself; i'm satisfied.

looking throught the comments, i must comment on one particular. That of C. Torvik........When you find an outswing door with inside hinges, please tell me because that would be an ingenious feat! Inside hinges on and outswing door equals....a wall....that looks like a door! haha....sorry. Easy fix: buy lock-pinned hinges. Your door probably already has them. Not having all the knowledge is how companies get a bad name. Great website though! :)