established in 1890


The founder,
August Behrens

The well-known country family concern Aug Behrens (Pty) Ltd.was founded in 1889 by the German immigrant August Behrens. The then well known Pretoria businessman, T.W.Beckett, advised the young German pioneer to start a business at the Bethanie Missionary Station, near Brits, where his uncle was the Missionary for the Herrmannsburg Missionary Society.

In the beginning Mr.Beckett supplied stock, on account, and supported the young pioneer with his valuable advice. Business was first conducted in an old house. In the year 1890 just 75 years ago the first building for the firm Aug Behrens was erected at Bethanie. The business prospered and when the Anglo-Boer War started in 1899, it had already become an established business.

The period immediately after the Boer War had ended, proved difficult, but gradually the business grew from strength to strength, and in1904, two branches were established, one at Makolokwe and one at Berseba in the so-called "Native areas". The Kroondal branch of the business was founded at Kroondal in 1906, and was conducted in a building on the property of Mr. Backeberg adjacent to the old Post Office building. This business was taken over in 1906 by August Behrens senior.

Across the road, on land belonging to a Mr. H. Lange, was another shop, consisting of an enormous corrugated-iron building, belonging to Messrs, Rattenberg and Cohen. In 1908 they ceased operations and the Aug.Behrens business was transferred to that site. For more than 20 years, this building served as the shopping centre for Kroondal.
August Behrens senior, who had been staying at Bethanie until 1917, then moved to his farm Bergheim in the shadow of the Magaliesberg. The developing business at Kroondal, was managed by his sons, just as soon as they were old enough.The elder son, Heiny Behrens,who had gained hisbusiness; training whilst working for the firm, T. W. Beckett, in Pretoria,became the new manager and retained that position for a number of years.

Gussi Behrens

In 1916;the second son, August, uncle Gussi, as Heiny is generally referred to by those who know him, became the manager of the Kroondal business. August soon proved he was a progressive businessman and prized his reputation for square dealing, and the business continued to flourish under his management.


In 1930 he moved to a bigger and more modern building which was erected on August's own site, and in which the business has been conducted, until 1965. At first, this building appeared too large, and there was insufficient stock to cover the shelves, but the turnover steadily increased, and yet again the available space proved inadequate. Floorspace just had to be found.


This time, Uncle Gussi had also started a trading store, at thePlatinum Mine, which was later disposed of to Messrs. Wolpe & Mendelsohn. After World War ll August also founded the Kroondal Houthandelaars, later transferred to Rustenburg, and subsequently disposed of.

Hugo Behrens

In 1950, the third generation Behrens, Hugo, took over the reigns of management and the business enjoyed further development and growth. Further additions to the premises just had to be elected, and this utilised every available inch of space, but still proved short of requirements. It was decided to again build, which decision has resulted in a new building, modern in every respect, which now stands on the corner of the Pretoria-Road and 'Tiatina-straat". This is the fourth Behrens building at Kroondal that has housed the firm Aug. Behrens. Three have been out-grown. It seemed, at the time, that the new building was far too big but in the light of previous experience, for how long? Mr. Behrens and his staff were confident that a bright future lay ahead for Rustenburg, Kroondal and the surrounding area, and in this belief, they truly laid their plans well.


The building is a fine expression of their faith in the future. The complex comprises a massive steel construction, with large, well-planned windows not display windows in the usual sense of the word because the entire business operates with all stocks displayed. Only a minimum of interior partition walls are utilised, so that a most striking impression is conveyed of the vast interior. Goods are displayed on low cabinets, and the trade is conducted on a self-service, and "semi self-service'' basis. The function of the business, in the new building, will be directed to cater for the needs of the entire family, whilst maintaining the true characteristics of a country store.
A cosy corner has been provided in which customers can enjoy tea or coffee, and where farmers can foregather when opportunity permits, unfortunately without their beer! A unique feature, in the store, is a counter, at which a local bank will conduct business on specific days. An entirely new division is the Caltex Depot, where farmers can purchase supplies of fuel, paraffin, grease and oils at depot prices. A large area is devoted to the stocking of fertilizers. Even better service is planned, with an even bigger range than formerly, in order to fully cope with these supplies to the farmer.
Needless to say, not only the farmer is going to benefit from the business expansion. Provision has also been made to furnish the housewife's every want as well as for every member of her family. Beautiful glass and kitchenware have always been a Behrens speciality, and this practice continues to be developed. In the new building, merchandise, by being better displayed, will continue to expand. The soft goods department will also greatly benefit from, improved display. The new building creating as it does, such a valuable asset to the vicinity, merits the just rewards of outstanding service.


© Aug Behrens (Pty) Ltd  




Design & Maintenance: Helga Nordhoff