Our History

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John E. Behler and Wayne H. Young grew up in nearby Lowell, Michigan, became life long friends and founded the company in 1926 in a building located at Bond and Trowbridge in Grand Rapids. The friendship between John Behler and “Brig” Young grew into a successful business partnership. When the two were not hunting and fishing together, they built a business that survived the depression and World War II. They complemented one another – John the outside salesman and “Brig” the inside manager. Together they shared a strong sense of business integrity and honesty – a heritage that has lasted over 75 years.

A second generation – Jack Behler returned from service in World War II to run the manufacturing component – very high quality sheet metal pipe fittings. After military service, Dick Young joined the company and grew the distribution business – increasing the number of warehouse locations across Michigan.

Under the leadership of a third generation, Behler Young is committed to the ethics, quality, excellence and teamwork that have characterized the company since its inception. B-Y officers and employees have been involved in any number of civic, community and industry organizations. We are especially proud of our employee participation in United Way Campaigns and as community volunteers. Dick Young has served as President of the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce, the Michigan Chamber of Commerce and as President of the National Association of Wholesale Distributors. Doug Young has been selected to head the Heating, Airconditioning & Refrigeration Distributors International Association, combining the two major industry distributor organizations.

Behler-Young has long been recognized for its commitment to quality products, superior customer service and innovations in its industry. Today Behler-Young is a multi-million dollar company representing hundreds of manufactures and serving thousands of customers throughout Michigan and Ohio from 15 locations. Our time and energy are devoted to constantly improving our logistical capabilities and service to our customers.

The company has been a major provider of business and technical training for contractors and thousands have attended classes in three regional training centers. Behler-Young has created a world class system of distribution and delivery capabilities and a network of Bryant dealers that provide outstanding sales, installation and service to business and home owners throughout our service area.

Throughout its history, Behler-Young has never lost its vision to remain a privately held, family-owned business with three generations committed to its customers, community and associates.

Our mission is to satisfy the needs of our customers through wholesale distribution. We strive to be, and to be viewed as, the highest value provider of such products and services in the market in which we choose to compete. The major resource behind our success will be our high-performance team of associates who will share in the financial benefits of this success.

2001 – Company celebrates 75th Anniversary

1993 – Company builds a major distribution center in Kensington Park, east of Brighton, Michigan.

1992 – Douglas R. Young is named president of the company. The company is recognized as Distributor Magazine’s “Distributor of the Year”.

1991 – The company becomes exclusive Bryant Distributor for Michigan and northwest Ohio. Opens a branch warehouse in Toledo, Ohio.

1989 – Company spins off Rapid-Line Sheet Metal Manufacturing Division enabling the company to focus on the distribution business.

1982 – Doug Young joins Behler-Young

1981 – Wayne H. “Brig” Young passes away – company makes its first expansion into southeast Michigan. A “Brand-O-Rama” trade show is held in Grand Rapids.

1978 – A major addition to the Grand Rapids location combines the Grand Rapids branch and Corporate offices.

1976 – Company celebrates 50th year with a “Brand-O-Rama” trade show in Grand Rapids.

1969 – The Rapid-Line Manufacturing facility is built at 4900 Clyde Park Avenue in Wyoming.

1958 – Dick Young joins the company and Behler Young launches branches in Kalamazoo, Traverse City and other Michigan cities.

1945 – Jack Behler joins the company after service in World War II. Company becomes distributor of automatic heating equipment.

1935 – Company goes through Depression with equal sharing of weekly receipts with all employees.

1931 – A new building is built at 342 Market Avenue in Grand Rapids.

1929 – The company undertakes the manufacture of sheet metal pipe and fittings. Primary business is distribution of sheet metal, furnaces, and furnace repair parts.

1926 – Wayne H. Young and John E. Behler found company in a small building located at Bond and Trowbridge in Grand Rapids.