Urban Hospitality Concepts

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Urban Hospitality Concepts

Our Family history

ENTREPRENEURIAL DIVERSITY AND PERFORMANCE

Shoes and accessories, washing machines, cameras, razor blades and rubber: The Bernings were never lacking for diversity in their business ventures. The company’s history extends back to the end of the 19th century when Hermann Berning bought shoemaker supply wholesaler GEOS. Together with his cousin, he developed a conglomerate with companies from all kinds of industries – from cameras to razor blades and refrigerators.

In 1934, the business was equally divided up among the family members as the next generation became involved. Hermann Berning’s son, Helmut, took the reins at the Rondo washing machine factory as well as GEOS.

After rebuilding from the ruins of World War II, the family sold the growing washing machine business, Rondo, in 1960. The market was becoming saturated, leading to a strong increase in competition.

By 1990, the focus shifted to expanding the GEOS brand throughout Germany. This structural shift involved major investments in the difficult fashion market, resulting in dwindling production and sales figures.

The properties belonging to the holding eventually provided the basis for today’s commercial real estate business, which is run by the third generation of Bernings.

The fourth generation joined the family-owned business in 2000. Gordon Berning completed his training and did his first work in the hospitality industry before entering into his parents‘ business and becoming proxy in 2012.

In 2016, Gordon left the holding company and returned to the hospitality sector once again, founding B-Boardinghouse GmbH. By opening his B-Boardinghouses in Düsseldorf, he laid the foundation for the expanding Berning Hospitality Group.

  • 1900

    Hermann Berning (born 1877), owner of a shoemaker supply wholesaler in Mettmann, traveled to England, where something unusual caught his attention: The men wore replaceable rubber corners on their heels to protect them from wear and tear.

  • 1904

    “Schwelmer Gummiwaren Gesellschaft” is founded in Hanover along with Continental Gummi-Werke AG. Over the next 30 years, Continental manufactured the rubber corners and allowed Hermann Berning exclusive distribution.

  • 1927-1931

    The Rondo company, manufacturer of wringers and washing machines, is founded in Schwelm, as well as Continental. Four years later, Continental left Rondo, which meant that the company was wholly owned by the Berning family.
  • 1934

    Helmut started working on his secret passion within the very diverse corporate group: the wringers and washing machines made by Rondo. The washing machines became the mainstay of the group of companies with a winning slogan: “Rondo – different from all the rest!”.


  • 1939

    World War II brought a sudden end to the group’s success and plans for expansion. Washing machines were not considered strategically vital, and the company was only able to prevent people and machines from being confiscated by accepting arms orders. After Schwelm was bombed, killing three Berning employees, the valuable production machines were relocated to the Austrian city of Dornbirn.

  • 1945

    Directly following the war, Helmut Berning started manufacturing cameras at his company, Robot before being arrested by the English occupying forces. After six weeks of incarceration and a short time at a prison camp, he was released.

  • 1946-1948

    Refrigerator production is a very interesting sector during this post-war period. Helmut Berning also received a production permit for razor blades but continued working on his passion project: washing machines. He revived Rondo after the company declined into irrelevance during the war. Two years later, Berning sold the first washing machine for 1,000 German marks. Rondo eventually became part of the famed German economic miracle.

  • 1960

    A saturated market and price wars in the washing machine segment made it difficult for Rondo to compete. Helmut Berning sold the company and shifted his focus to the shoe market with the GEOS company, which emerged from the war practically unscathed. Several shoe companies were acquired, and subsidiaries expanded.
  • 1975

    GEOS becomes the largest shoe wholesaler in the Federal Republic of Germany. The company is healthy, sales extremely positive and the equity ratio is high.
  • 1990

    Hans-Joachim Berning took over the management and shifted the company’s focus away from shoes to buying and selling real estate. He successfully built a wide-ranging real estate portfolio and managed it effectively without vacancies.

  • 2009

    Hans-Joachim Berning’s son, Gordon (born 1978) joined his father’s company after learning to be a chef, spending several years abroad and completing his training in general management. He became proxy of the Berning holding company in 2012.

  • 2016-17

    Gordon Berning recognized that he couldn’t make his dream of opening his own hotel a reality in his father’s company. He founded B-Boardinghouse GmbH & Co. KG in Düsseldorf. The first B-Boardinghouse Düsseldorf opened on Eisenstraße in 2017.
  • 2018

    The company opened its second building in Düsseldorf with B-Boardinghouse II on Friedrichstraße.
  • 2021

    Gordon Berning founded the Berning Hospitality Group, developing three franchise concepts for modern, temporary living in urban spaces with B-Boardinghouse, B-Hotel and B-Student Living. The group opened the first B-Hotel in Düsseldorf in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic – the most difficult crisis facing Germany since World War II: B-Hotel offers modern, versatile temporary living concepts across 5 apartments and 21 rooms.

Our Philosophy

The Berning Hospitality Group dedicates its strong intuition and experience to developing and marketing modern living concepts with an eye for great design. The group employs contemporary flair, an instinct for excellent service and the conscious use of resources for its successful properties.