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RONA Airdrie to close in January

The RONA hardware store in Airdrie is among 34 locations Lowe’s Canada will be closing in early 2020.

Lowe’s Companies Inc., which owns RONA and Lowe’s Canada, announced the closures Nov. 20, stating the nearly three-dozen stores were “under performing.”

“While making decisions that impact our associates and their families is never easy, closing under performing stores is a necessary step in our plan to ensure the long-term stability and growth of our Canadian business,” said Tony Cioffi, interim president of Lowe's Canada, in a press release.

The closures will begin in late January 2020, with RONA Airdrie, located on Main Street just south of Yankee Valley Blvd., set to shut Jan. 31.

Terry Houde, a frequent shopper at the store, said she was disappointed to hear about the closure.

“I built a house last year and bought everything from RONA,” she said. “This is the one store in the city you’re guaranteed to get great customer service and good prices. It’s really sad the big conglomerates are taking over.”

When contacted via phone, the staff at RONA Airdrie declined comment on the matter, directing the Airdrie City View to contact Lowe’s Canada.

According to an emailed response from the corporation’s media relations department, RONA Airdrie employs 32 people. The email stated it is too early to confirm how many of those employees will be laid off, as some could be offered positions at the Lowe’s Canada store in Balzac, which will remain open.

“Many corporate stores from our network have unmet staffing needs; therefore, some employees may be offered the opportunity to transfer to a nearby store, whenever possible,” the statement read.

“All impacted employees will be supported by our HR team and will have access to the Employee Assistance Program.”

RONA Airdrie is one of six RONA or Lowe’s Canada locations closing in Alberta. Most of the impacted stores are located in Quebec or Ontario.

Clearance sales at the Airdrie location began Nov. 21. Many shoppers could be seen flowing in and out of the store Nov. 22 to take advantage of lower-than-usual prices.

“It’s disappointing ­– it’s been my hardware store for about 11 or 12 years now, since I’ve been in Airdrie,” said contractor Boye Ojo, who buys his renovation supplies from RONA several times a week. “We’ll have to drive out to CrossIron Mills to buy everything we want to buy.”

Along with the 34 store closures, Lowe’s Companies Inc.’s statement said the company would “undertake a process to simplify multiple store banners to drive efficiency and reduce operational complexity,” while also “reorganizing the corporate structure across the country to better support store and customer needs.”

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