ATCO launches home maintenance start-up, promises 200 new Alberta jobs

Rümi aims to make home ownership easier by offering a variety of products for sale as well as home maintenance, repair and installation services

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ATCO Ltd. has announced the launch of a new home services business line that it says could eventually create more than 200 new jobs in Alberta.

The Calgary-based company announced the launch of the newest member of the ATCO group on Thursday. The startup company — dubbed Rümi, as in “roomie,” like a helpful roommate — aims to make home ownership easier by offering a variety of products for sale as well as home maintenance, repair and installation services.

“A lot of people think of ATCO and they think of trailers, or ATCO Gas or ATCO Electric, but at the heart of ATCO is a very robust entrepreneurial spirit,” said ATCO CEO and chair Nancy Southern, adding the addition of a home services line builds on some of ATCO’s existing strengths, such as home natural gas and electricity services, and the ATCO Blue Flame Kitchen.

Via the Rümi website, customers will be able to browse a catalogue of more than 750 products available for purchase, from kitchenware to SMART Home technology to outdoor living accessories.

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Customers will also be able to choose from a vetted library of local service providers in a variety of fields, including air quality, cleaning, electrical heating and cooling, electric vehicle home charger installation, home inspections and consults, plumbing, roofing and exterior, trees and shrubs, windows and doors, and more. Customers can book those services online, or if they want more help in choosing a provider, speak via phone to a Rümi “concierge” who can provide more personalized assistance.

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Marshall Wilmot, president of ATCO Energy Ltd. and the company’s chief digital officer, said the company believes there is market demand for a “one-stop shop” that takes some of the stress out of home ownership.

“We didn’t go into this blindly, we did a lot of research with our existing ATCO Energy customers and other customers within Alberta, and the interesting epiphany we got out of the research is that although people love owning their homes, and they see that as their biggest investment, there’s a lot of anxiety associated with being a homeowner,” Wilmot said. “And therefore we saw a great opportunity to fill that void and provide products and services that can address any homeowner need.”

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Rümi is launching first in Calgary and Edmonton, but the company is actively talking to service providers in other communities and plans to expand to other parts of Alberta within a few months.

Southern said ultimately, ATCO envisions Rümi as having up to 200 direct employees in Alberta, in addition to supporting the private businesses of contractors and service providers it partners with in different communities.

“Our long-term vision would be to expand North American-wide, Canada-wide, and perhaps even globally,” she said.

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Twitter: @AmandaMsteph

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