Bretford Celebrates 60 Years As A Multi-Generational Family Business
This year marks the 60th year of business for Bretford Manufacturing. Known today as a top producer of some of the strongest and safest technology furniture products available, the company has blossomed over the last six decades from a two-person family business to a major worldwide operation with nearly 500 employees and 450,000 square feet of production space.
Owned and operated over the years by three generations of Petricks, family is what Bretford is all about. In fact, even the company moniker is derived from the combination of two family names—Brecht
One of Bretford’s first mobile AV carts, the A2462, is still in use today. and Crawford. “Since my father and uncle founded Bretford, the company has conducted business in a family-oriented manner. We consider our employees, partners and customers a true extension of our family,” explained Dave Petrick, CEO of Bretford.
Founded in 1948, the company was once considered a jack-of-all-trades, manufacturing everything from tripod projection screens and steel cases to hair dryers and sun/heat lamps. In 1958, the Bretford team began its focus on the educational market after winning a large school district bid in North Carolina for classroom tables. The Bretford team also saw opportunity in the growing office furniture market and began designing and producing booktrucks, TV carts and stands for copiers and printers.
The company is an innovator. In addition to the first mobile laptop carts, Bretford designed the earliest line of mobile AV carts four decades ago. Many are still in use today. To continue to meet the needs of schools—particularly in tough economic times when many educational institutions don’t have the budget to buy new AV furniture—earlier this year, Bretford launched a series of new AV cart retrofit kits. These kits allow schools to modernize their existing equipment to accommodate new technologies like flat panels, laptops, and data projectors.
Safety is also key for Bretford. “Many of our products are used in schools and libraries where children are present so extreme stability and strength is necessary to ensure little ones are protected from harm around large and heavy technology equipment like TVs and flat panels,” Petrick said. Bretford’s newest FPBBUL flat panel wide-body carts are the only ones in the industry to be fully (not just the electrical components) UL-certified to comply with U.S. standard 1667 for tall institutional carts.
Sustainability is at the top of the priority list for Bretford, with environmentally- friendly manufacturing and operation practices and RoHS-compliance on all products. Earlier this year, a large number of Bretford’s laminate tables, carts, and accessories earned GREENGUARD indoor air quality certification, deeming them healthy for use in commercial environments. This certification also benefits institutions by bringing them closer to achieving valuable LEED points, the nationally accepted benchmark towards the design, construction and operation of green buildings.
So what separates Bretfrd from the competition? According to Petrick, “We not only listen to our customers, we respond. For example, we were the first to develop a conference room table to handle the electrical needs of a laptop, based on customer requests. The difference is that we are passionate about our customers and are continually adapting our furniture to the changing needs of technology.” Petrick added matter-of-factly, “This is how we have conducted business over the last 60 years and how we intend to stay successful for the next 60.”