Jim Bearde and Sons: A 60-Year Legacy

Feb 20, 2015

This photo was taken in 1954, not long after Jim Bearde (middle) became a U-Haul Dealer.QUINCY, Mass.—Every U-Haul Dealership has a unique story to tell about how they came to be a part of the U-Haul family. Like many U-Haul Dealers, Jim Bearde and Sons was started by a father—Jim Bearde—who eventually passed it down to his sons—Kevin, Brian and Roger. But what stands out about this dealership is its longevity, and the fact that U-Haul pioneer Hap Carty himself was the one who signed their U-Haul Dealer Contract way back in 1954.

Today, more than 60 years later, Jim Bearde’s sons are continuing their dad’s legacy of great service. Even when it’s bitter cold and the snow is piled so high that it’s collapsing fences on their lot, the Bearde brothers show up to serve customers. They know they’re carrying the torch for the family business, and they feel a great sense of pride in operating one of the longest-serving U-Haul Dealerships.

Family business

Roger and Kevin Bearde in 2004.The Bearde children—there are six siblings altogether—grew up around the family business.

“We were always here, playing or helping out,” Brian Bearde noted. “It was always a place to go and hang out as a family. As we got older, we became more involved in the daily operations.”

Kevin Bearde joined the operation full time in 1968, and Roger and Brian followed suit in 1973.

“It wasn’t always a foregone conclusion that we’d end up working here,” Brian explained, “but once I got out of school and started to see the ‘real world,’ I decided to stay here. Plus, I liked working with my dad and brothers.”

When Jim Bearde retired in the mid-1990s, his sons bought the business from him. Jim passed away in 2000, but the family business continues to carry his name, which is known throughout the area. Jim Bearde and Sons offers auto repair, Massachusetts vehicle inspections, towing services and gasoline. Because it’s a 24-hour operation, the Bearde brothers often work staggered schedules so it’s rare to find all three of them there at the same time.

AFM Phil McGonagle (left) and MCP Sandie Gardner (kneeling) present a 60-year U-Haul plaque to Brian Bearde (right) and his longtime employee Jack Pagnano (center).“Being a 24-hour operation gives them a big advantage,” stressed Ozzie Caldeira, who was their U-Haul area field manager about 10 years ago. “They’ll rent trucks any time of the day. One Labor Day weekend, they were dispatching trucks almost immediately after they were dropped off, sometimes at 10 p.m. You’d be surprised how many people were willing to pick up trucks that late! There are a few colleges in the area, so it was very helpful for students especially.”

“If you’ve ever been in that area around Labor Day, you know how helpful it is to have a U-Haul location available around the clock,” added U-Haul Company of Rhode Island President Sandie Gardner. “When college kids are absolutely desperate to find a U-Haul truck, Bearde and Sons is there to help them.”

 

Across many generations

Depending on the season, Bearde and Sons employs up to six people full time, including two employees who have been there for about 10 to 15 years.

“My dad taught us how to find good people and keep them,” Brian explained. “We’ve had a lot of longtime employees here over the years.”

“It’s great knowing we’re one of the oldest dealerships,” Brian Bearde emphasized. “Today in business you have to have many things to bring in customers, and U-Haul has been great for us over the years. Someone who drops off a U-Haul rental might come back to get their car inspected, or vice-versa.”

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