Behrends… Am I Even Saying that Right?

Our company has a bit of an unusual name but it carries with it a long history and deeper meaning than one might think at first glance. Its pronunciation can also be a bit of a challenge and with over 60 years in the business, we have heard it all! The correct pronunciation is technically Bɑːrrɛndz or Bear –Ands. Note that the ‘H’ is silent and seems to be what trips most people up! Over the years we have heard everything from the ever-popular Brends (like Brent with a D!) to Bay-rends or even Bee-rends.  It is a tricky one for sure, but don’t worry, any of our staff would be happy to help with that!

The name Behrends is actually the surname of the man who started the company – John Behrends – way back in 1952.  As a surname, Behrends was first recorded in the 5th century in the area we now call Germany. It has had many different spellings over the years, but the meaning remains the same. “Behr” translates into “bear” and “ends” translates into the adjectives brave, hardy or strong. Other variations of it include Bernard, Bernucci and Bieratowicz. In England, where hereditary surnames became a tradition much earlier than the rest of Europe, Behrends became popular after the 12th Century. It gained notoriety after the canonization of two saints in the Catholic Church who bore that name.  Early settlers from Behrends’ clans colonized North America from England as early as the 16th Century. Most groups that settled were engaged in agriculture, establishing their families for generations until today.

Though Behrends is no longer run by the family of its namesake, most people will attest to the fact that our medium-sized business makes them feel like family. With personable, long-standing employees from a variety of backgrounds, the longevity and endurance of Behrends (‘The Hardy Bear’) continues now and into the future.

                                                                   Our founder John F. Behrends