by Tina Olivero

    RIDEOUT LEGACY: Leaders in innovation, industrial supply and equipment

    The Rideout family’s impact on the industrial supply and equipment industry in Newfoundland and Labrador is immeasurable. From their early beginnings to their current success, the Rideout has been an example of adaptability, dedication, and commitment to their customers and family business.

    The Rideout family has left an indelible mark on the industrial supply and equipment industry in Newfoundland and Labrador. Their family legacy has helped to transform the industry in Newfoundland and Labrador and they have set an example for others to follow. 

    Their ability to adapt to changing times, their commitment to their customers, and their dedication to their family business have made the Rideout family a true Newfoundland and Labrador success story.

    The Early Years – Roland H. Rideout

    Roland H. Rideout was born on Pilley’s Island, Notre Dame Bay, and moved to St. John’s in 1945. Roland Rideout had previously worked with the United States Air Force in Gander before moving to St. John’s. He started a small motor repair shop in 1950 located at the corner of Cochrane and Water Street where Sir Humphrey Gilbert exists now. He later moved to Williams Lane (Now Dicks Deck area) and then to the storefront on water street west in 1956. 

    Much of his business throughout this period came from the Marine and fish processing industry where he developed a strong reputation as an expert repair center for motors, generators, and related apparatus. Roland Rideout quickly gained a reputation as an expert repair center for motors, generators, and related equipment.

    Roland and his wife Lillian had 8 children and 3 became involved in the family business.

    Ray Rideout

    Ray started working full-time with Rideout Electric Ltd on Water Street in 1963 after completing his business degree at Memorial University. He supervised the electrical contracting and motor winding business and oversaw the company’s natural expansion into power tools, abrasives, cutting tools, and related products. From there, Ray recognized a gap in the market to focus on small and large-scale woodworking machinery and equipment and Rideout Tool & Machine wasn’t long to establish itself as a key supplier of woodworking products in Newfoundland.

    Ray became President of the company as his father scaled back actively in the business and oversaw all operations, staff and sales functions for the majority of his career.  He also played a key role in establishing the company as a major supplier for the offshore industry in the years to come.

    Ray’s dedication and expertise helped Rideout Tool & Machine become a one-stop shop for all types of industrial and commercial tools and equipment.

    Another family member who made significant contributions to the company’s growth is Harry Rideout. Harry had studied Electronics Technology at Ryerson Tech before working at ITT at their relay station at the US Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

    Harry Rideout

    After spending two years doing Engineering courses at MUN, he accepted a technician position with Transport Canada’s regional office in Moncton. 

     In 1966, Harry joined Rideout Tool as the external sales and business development manager, where he developed the metalworking, compressed air portion and technical test and measurement products divisions of the business. Harry’s knowledge and expertise were essential in driving the company’s success in these areas.

    Today Harry remains well-known within the province for his technical knowledge and is active in supporting and developing the business in these areas.

    Chris Rideout

    The youngest of the Rideout brothers to get involved with the family business is Chris who joined the company in 1975. Chris had an education in Business Administration and worked as a Sales Representative out of St. John’s. He played a significant role in the company’s expansion, which included opening and managing a new branch in Corner Brook in 1980 to serve the west coast of Newfoundland.

    Chris managed the Corner Brook branch until he moved to Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, in 1986 to manage the company’s new Dartmouth branch and third location. Thanks to his efforts, Rideout Tool & Machine was able to expand its reach and become a major industrial player serving the Atlantic provinces.

    New Locations

    Rideout Tool & Machine has grown and evolved, becoming a leader in the supply of industrial and commercial tools and equipment in Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, and beyond.

    Kenmount Road Location –

    Over the years, Rideout Tool has achieved several major milestones. One of the most significant was the opening of its current location on Kenmount Road in 1972. At the time of the move, this location was considered the outskirts of St. John’s city limits but is now a major thoroughfare for incoming and outgoing traffic.  The opening ceremony was attended by Henri Richard, the famed Pocket Rocket of the Montreal Canadiens, who was the spokesperson for Skil Power Tools at the time. This event marked a turning point for the company, as it allowed Rideout Tool to offer a wider range of products and services to its customers with a much larger physical footprint and showroom. 


     In 1980, Rideout Tool opened its Corner Brook branch, which allowed the company to expand its reach even further. This new location provided customers in western Newfoundland with access to the same high-quality products and services as those in St. John’s.

    Dartmouth, Nova Scotia –

    The company continued to grow, and in 1986, Rideout Tool & Machine opened its Nova Scotia branch. This new location was a significant milestone, as it allowed Rideout Tool to tap into new markets and customers in the Maritimes.

    The new locations and growth of the company also coincide with the company rebranding itself from its origins as Rideout Electric to the broader scope of Rideout Tool & Supply as it was known in the 70s and 80s to become Rideout Tool & Machine as it is known today.

    In 2005, Rideout Tool opened its new building on Akerley Blvd. in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. This new location was much larger than the previous one, allowing the company to expand its inventory and services even further. 

    The company continues to grow and evolve to this day with increasing footprints and building expansions and upgrades.

    Business Expansion

    As the business continued to grow, Rideout Tool went on to attend major trade shows to develop business relationships with other manufacturers of tools, machinery, and related industrial maintenance products.  With an expansive product offering of power and hand tools, industrial consumables, chemical products, wood and metalworking machinery, air compressors and related accessories, test and measurement products, environmental control products, a full line of fasteners products and so much more, Rideout Tool & Machine is well-diversified to meet the demands of the local economy. 

     Oil & Gas Industry

    In the early 90s, it was clear Newfoundland & Labrador was set to become a major player in the oil & gas industry. Ray Rideout took the initiative to travel to Aberdeen to meet with successful distributors serving their local markets to learn the types of products they were selling to better meet the needs of the offshore industry to come.  Ray took this knowledge home and quickly established new relationships to broaden the company’s product offering even further. Harry also attended many of the trade events such as the OTC, and CMTS centered around the Oil & Gas industry.

    This forward-thinking expansion has set Rideout Tool & Machine up to become a major Newfoundland industrial supplier to the Hibernia platform during the construction phase of the project and has remained a long-term supply partner since then and to this day.  This marked the beginning of the company’s involvement in the oil and gas industry and has given the company the experience to be able to serve all large-scale projects within the Atlantic provinces.  

    Rideout Tool & Machine remains to this day large enough to manage projects of this magnitude but is still very adaptable to the individual needs of our customers.

    ISO Milestone

    In dealing with large-scale projects, Rideout Tool & Machine was encouraged to develop and maintain a quality program.  In 1998, Rideout Tool achieved ISO certification, becoming one of the first industrial companies in the province to do so. This certification recognized the company’s commitment to quality and customer service and helped it stand out in a highly competitive market.

    Rideout Tool Today

    Chris Rideout, the president, and brother of Ray and Harry manage the Dartmouth location, while Janet Rideout, Ray’s daughter, is the Vice President of Operations, and Harry’s son Craig Rideout is the Vice President of Sales. 

    These days, Ray and Harry no longer work full-time but provide support for sales, technical support, and assistance in special projects. 

    Rideout Tool has three locations, with the head office located in St. John’s and branches in Corner Brook, Newfoundland, and Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. The company has a total of 46 full-time staff and is managed by the third generation of the Rideout family. 

    Rideout Tool & Machine will be celebrating its 75th year in business in 2024 and is a successful 3rd generation Newfoundland owned and operated company.

    The Rideout Community Legacy

    The legacy of the Rideout family is significant, not only because of the success of the company they built but also because of their contributions to the local community. 

    The family has been involved in many charitable and community-based initiatives over the years. They have supported organizations such as the Children’s Wish Foundation, the Janeway Children’s Hospital Foundation, and the Canadian Cancer Society, as well as countless community and school sports groups among others.

    Thank You For A Lifetime Commitment

    Rideout Tool and Machine continues to be a leader in the industrial supply and equipment industry in Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, and beyond. The company offers a wide range of products and services to meet the needs of its customers, including power tools, metal and woodworking machinery, compressed air equipment and much more.  In addition, Rideout Tool provides repair and maintenance services for many of the products it sells.

    As Rideout Tool continues to grow and evolve, the company remains committed to its core values of quality, customer service, and family values. With a strong foundation built over more than seven decades, Rideout Tool is poised to continue its success and remain a leader in the industry for many years to come.

    The Rideout family business has a rich history and a legacy that has been built on hard work, determination, and commitment to excellence. Their vision, dedication, and passion have helped the local Newfoundland communities that it serves and will be remembered for years to come. 

    The Rideout family’s story is a true testament to the spirit of Newfoundland and Labrador, and their legacy will continue to inspire future generations of entrepreneurs and business leaders.

    Tina Olivero

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