Monday, May 13, 2019
The 2nd edition of my book, first published in 2016, is now available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. It includes an updated list of Century Club companies, which now total over 1,000. I have also added answers to a few more questions I have received about my research as well as some graphics sorting the company list by state, public/private, and generational ownership. I hope you enjoy the stories about these remarkable companies that have survived for over 100 years.
Out of nine firms celebrating their 170th anniversaries this year, two have remained in the family for five generations: Hemp's Meats (www.hempsmeats.com) has been providing top quality meats to Jefferson, Maryland and surrounding areas since 1849.
And Pennsylvania furniture retailer Teeter's Furniture (www.teetersfurniture.com) has also run a funeral business over the years.
In 1849 it was not that unusual for a small town cabinetmaker to also serve as undertaker. But the Teeter family has managed to continue doing both businesses for 170 years and that is remarkable.
Thursday, February 28, 2019
Astoria Pepsi-Cola bottler Van Dusen Beverages claims to be Oregon's oldest business. Established in 1849 as Van Dusen Mercantile, they have been a Pepsi and Dr. Pepper bottler since 1947. Today they offer a wide range of beverages as well as chips and snacks and are still owned by the Van Dusen family. Century Club congratulations on your 170th Anniversary!
Monday, February 4, 2019
1869 Often referred to as the Reconstruction Era, the United States was struggling to recover from the Civil War. These nine companies began operations and have continued serving customers for 150 years.
Baker Boyer is a Walla Walla, Washington based financial institution. Founded in 1869, it was the first bank in what would become the State of Washington 20 years later.
Campbell's is still based in Camden New Jersey where it began making soups 150 years ago. Now they sell a number of food products in over 100 countries around the world.
In 1869 the Connecticut Legislature approved the charter of Dime Savings Bank of Norwich. This was a time when banking was not always available to the working class, so a group of local businessmen established a mutual savings bank. Today, Dime is still owned by its depositors.
Elmira Savings Bank, organized as a mutual bank in 1869, has converted a public company with its stock available on NASDAQ but still proudly operates as an independent community bank headquartered in Elmira, New York.
Founded by Marcus Goldman in 1869 (son-in-law Samuel Sachs joined him in 1882), Goldman Sachs has grown into one of the largest investment banking enterprises in the world.
Graybar is an industrial and electrical supply distributor based in Clayton, Missouri. It is one of the largest employee-owned companies in the United States.
Gustav Goelitz came to the U.S. in 1866 and in 1869 started a confectionery business. Known initially for candy such as candy corn, the company expanded into jelly beans in the 1960s. In 2001 the company known for four generations by the family name, renamed itself after their most popular product.
Mohonk Mountain House is a spa resort in New York's Hudson Valley, 90 miles north of New York City. Founded by Albert Smiley in 1869, this Victorian castle continues to thrive 150 years later under 4th & 5th generations of the Smiley family.
The Vindicator Printing Company is based in Youngstown, Ohio. Best know for its daily newspaper, The Vindicator, it also runs other media.
Friday, January 25, 2019
Ashaway Line & Twine
Ashaway is best know as the only U.S. manufacturer of world-class racket strings, but it is also a leader in medical threads and custom braided products. Started in 1824 by Captain Lester Crandall to manufacture fishing line, the Rhode Island company is still in the Crandall family -- including the seventh generation.
Thursday, January 24, 2019
Hanover, Maryland firm George R. Ruhl & Son has been providing high quality bakery supplies to the mid-Atlantic states since starting as a flour and feed mill in 1789. Typical of Century Club companies, they say "although we continually adapt to the changing marketplace and invest in modern technologies to deliver even better service, we always hold true to the original family values that have always been at the heart of the company." Congratulations on your 230th anniversary!
Wednesday, January 23, 2019
When you think about it, you kinda want to do business with an insurance company that has been around a while. These two started in 1794 and are still going strong today.
On January 21, 1794, a number of respectable citizens assembled to establish a fire insurance company similar to that created in Philadelphia by Benjamin Franklin. This meeting gave rise to the birth of the Baltimore Equitable Society. Policy Number 1 was issued on April 10, 1794 to Humphrey Pierce on his three-story brick house on Baltimore Street. By the end of its first year of operation, the Society was incorporated, making it older than Baltimore City itself, which was not incorporated until three years later.
Today, A.M. Best Company, which evaluates the financial stability of insurance companies, has rated Baltimore Equitable Society A - Excellent., meaning in Best's opinion, BEI has an excellent ability to meet their ongoing insurance obligations.
"That the citizens of this state may insure their buildings against losses and damages occasioned accidentally by fire and that the insured pay the losses and expenses, each his share, according to the sum insured." So reads the 1794 charter for the Mutual Assurance Society of Virginia
A mutual insurance company is owned and operated by its policyholders. It is run for their exclusive benefit. There are no stockholders. Each policyholder has a voice in the affairs of the company. Collectively, they elect its board of directors who, in turn, elect the officers who serve as the active managers of the business. Pure mutuals continue to operate in substantially the same manner they did when they began. Today’s economic challenges and technological changes must still be addressed, but the underlying concepts and principles remain.