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Rene Bonville

On December 2, 2019, we celebrated the 100,000th Safe Step walk-in tub manufactured, and it was given to one special man who spearheaded the company’s good fortune: Rene Bonville, who passed away peacefully on January 22, 2020.

Bonville was Safe Step’s original installer and got the attention of Safe Step’s founder Mike Duffer, whose dream in 2008 to build the best walk-in tub available was being compromised by sub-optimum suppliers. Bonville facilitated a meeting between Oliver Fiberglass Products owner Daniel Oliver, also VP of Oliver Technologies, and Duffer. The meeting proved pivotal to Safe Step’s success over the next decade and continues to this day.

Safe Step is now the largest, most well-respected and awarded walk-in tub company in North America.

Safe Step featured Bonville based on his invaluable impact on the company. Duffer, Oliver and his family along with 100 team members gathered late last year in order to honor the man who very well may have triggered the company’s prosperity. Safe Step created a program of giving in 2013, aptly named Safe Step Cares, which has been responsible for dozens of donations to those in need without the cost of the state-of-the-art tub. Bonville was the latest Safe Step Cares recipient. Rene never had the luxury to routinely experience the masterpiece he helped create, yet he basked in the reverence and respect he so rightfully deserved during his day attended by loved ones, team members, media and local dignitaries. “Safe Step is forever grateful for Rene,” said Duffer. “I could always count on honest, candid feedback from him. He was as dear and kind as he was smart, and his counsel ultimately led to Safe Step offering the best walk-in tubs on the planet.” Rene’s story and the partnership’s success were gracefully covered by the small community’s news sources such as the Lewis County Herald and the Columbia Times. The Herald’s managing editor, Ms. Becky Newbold, attended the event and turned it into a front-page story of remembrance.