PaperCity Magazine

PaperCity Houston November 2022

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PAPERCITY ADVERTORIAL Augie Bering Getting to Know Augie Bering V B ering's, once a lumberyard then a hardware store, is today a home and lifestyle Mecca — a Houston institution since 1940 selling everything from nuts and bolts to fine china. From their wedding-registry expertise to the perfect baby gift, Bering's has been at the heart of many Houstonians' most memorable life milestones. The man behind the memories, Augie Bering V, shares what it takes to carry on the legacy business while keeping the store's unique edge. For 82 years Bering's has been a Houston Institution. Your key to longevity? Augie Bering V: I believe the key to longevity is listening to your employees, building a strong team, and managing a good work/life balance. It's important to keep an eye on the big picture and ensure you're always moving in the right direction. How to balance a landmark company's past while moving it forward. AB: Very carefully… We make subtle changes to ensure we're keeping up with trends and staying fresh without making others feel like we're leaving anything out. We always want to keep up with what our older generation customers are shopping for, while also introducing newness to our stores. Our customers range from young brides to great-grandmothers, so it's important we're providing all customers with what they need. How your business has changed over time. AB: It's completely transformed over the years into the most unique modern-day general store, and I am so proud of it. In 1940, when Bering's first opened its doors, it was just a lumberyard. Years later, it turned into a lumber and do-it-yourself hardware store. Over time, we added kitchen and houseware items, the gift shop, stationery and party goods, a children's department, and lastly, in 2018, a men's shop. We're never idle … We're constantly brainstorming ways to improve our stores. I love how Bering's transformation over the years has allowed us to serve as Houston's one-stop shop. How do you maintain a variety of inventory and services while staying successful? AB: It takes a village to raise this baby! I have a fantastic team of motivated, smart, and passionate people who work well together while also having fun on the job. One person cannot do it all … Teamwork and collaboration, as well as maintaining great relations with vendors and manufacturers, are key. There is no other store like Bering's, with this many categories under one roof. Whenever someone asks me what kind of store Bering's is, I say, "You need to sit down for this one. It's going to take a while." Advice for new business owners. AB: My advice is to have a clear vision and ensure all team members are working towards the same end goal. You need to have confidence in your team and make your vision a reality with leadership, rather than micromanaging. Bering's in the next 20 years. AB: I hope that Bering's will be a thriving business in more neighborhoods around the country and that we continue to grow our digital footprint. Tell us about Cafe Bering's. AB: Café Bering's is our gourmet and coffee area within our stores, but also the brand name of our special Bering's coffee. We have more than 130 different types and flavors of coffee – from Costa Rica to African coffees. My favorite is the Anniversary Blend that we created for our 75th anniversary in 2015. In 2021, we renovated the coffee bar at our Bissonnet store. The custom coffee bar now offers local frozen foods, pick- up-and-go lunch options, and all of our favorite gourmet foods, dips, sauces, and seasonings. We also have a chocolate bar at both stores with truffles, chocolate-dipped Oreos, peanut butter, and more. Favorite food items from Bering's. AB: This is a very hard question … I absolutely love the Louis Sherry chocolates in the collectible tins. My favorite easy meal to whip up on a weeknight includes Pappardelle's pasta paired with Mary Ann's Spaghetti Sauce (locally owned) and 1836 Texas Olive Oil Company's olive oil. Favorite best-selling item. AB: A few of my favorite best-selling products are the Turtlebox Bluetooth speakers, Onward Reserve clothing from our Men's Shop, and the Ooni pizza oven. Favorite Houston restaurant. AB: Impossible question! My go-to is Jonathan's The Rub, but my other two favorites would be Uchi and State of Grace. Giving back to the Houston community. AB: I've been on the board of the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center for almost 10 years now. I think it's very important for our community to have a nature sanctuary. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time spent on the board and look forward to many more years. Top thing on your bucket list. AB: My bucket list is constantly growing, however, I would have to say backpacking in Iceland. I'm on the advisory council for the National Outdoor Leadership School in Lander, Wyoming. It's a backcountry skills school for climbing, backcountry skiing, mountaineering, and wilderness medicine, with branches all over the world, including remote areas like Alaska and the Himalayas. This is something I'm very passionate about. I enjoy spending my time off exploring the backcountry. Bering's 6102 Westheimer | 3900 Bissonnet 1.800.BERINGS 90

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