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Tales from Under the Rim
Tales from Under the Rim

Tales from Under the Rim

A National Bestseller. Now available in paperback.

"On a Rrrroll! You may not be familiar with Ron Buist, but you know his handiwork." — The Ottawa Citizen.

Tales from Under the Rim is a behind-the-scenes look at a simple business that became a Canadian icon. Tales from Under the Rim chronicles the rise of Tim Hortons, from its humble beginnings to a national institution. The recipe was simple: it took "one hockey player, one favourite barber shop, one former drummer, and one police officer" plus "the luck hard work brings" to transform a once unknown donut shop into one of Canada's leading franchise operations.

In this bestselling business memoir, Ron Buist shows how Tim Hortons became a second home to millions of Canadians. It includes the grass-roots marketing strategy that defined the early years, the Tim Hortons habit of listening to customers, and the whole story of Roll Up the Rim to Win, the no-frills contest that has become a defining feature of Canadian life.


Ron Buist joined Tim Hortons in 1977 and embarked on a 24-year journey of creative genius and marketing success. Although he retired in 2001, his influence can still be felt in many aspects of the Tim Hortons marketing campaigns. As the company's long-term director of marketing, he designed and developed the campaigns that helped drive Tim Hortons to its position as industry leader. An avid believer in the influence of television, Buist produced over 100 commercials, including the now famous "True Stories" commercials such as "Lillian," the elderly woman who walks up the steep hills of Lunenburg every morning for her Tim Hortons coffee, and "Coach," who inspires his Timbits hockey players before their big game at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. Buist also coined slogans, designed the first Tim travel mug (a trademark for the chain), developed print advertising campaigns, and invented the highly successful "Roll Up the Rim to Win" contest. First introduced in 1986, "Roll Up the Rim to Win" is one of the most successful contests of its kind in North America -- so successful that it has since become a part of Canadian cultural history. Ron Buist attended Ryerson Polytechnical Institute (now Ryerson University) where he graduated from the Radio and Television Arts program. He worked in radio and television in Oakville, Ottawa, and Toronto before becoming advertising manager for Black's Camera Stores. There, he was in charge of marketing Black's Bigger Prints, a change in process that that revolutionized photo finishing in Canada. His 13-year experience with Black's helped him land a job with Tim Hortons in 1977. Nowadays, Buist is a retail and franchise marketing consultant and professional speaker. He and his wife Mary Ann live in Oakville, Ontario, and have two adult children, Kevin and Suzanne.

"The perfect business gift ... Like its subject, it is comfortable, friendly, and a predominantly pleasant experience — Christmas morning or any other time." — Financial Post

"The book's subtitle is bang on. Tim Hortons is many things to this country, but it's above all else a triumph of marketing .... Buist's version of the rise of Tims holds a lot of common sense lessons that Canadian marketers of all stripes and sizes would do well to commit to memory." — Marketing Magazine

"The 'mother' of invention... A name that is on the lips of most Canadians — though they don't even know it. Along with other brilliant Canadians who've enriched our lives with light bulbs and TV, we raise a cup to you." — Toronto Sun

"A celebration of the results of marketing at its best." — Daily Gleaner

"Buist's Tales from Under the Rim: The Marketing of Tim Hortons really does reveal the truth behind Tim Hortons success. That is, there is no mystery." — Chronicle Herald

"The perfect coffee-table book? — a book about coffee." — Edmonton Sunday Sun

"Enlightening peeks into the building of a business empire." — Canadian Press

"A readable and colourful account of the marketing successes that kept Tim Hortons in the forefront of the public mind...an interesting and accessible text for students of marketing." — British Journal of Canadian Studies

218 pages
Pub date: September 9, 2011