Wednesday, September 16, 2020

How Rare Is It For A Company To Reach 100 Years?

I asked this question on my blog several years ago and decided it was time to update the answer now that I have done more research. Since that post, several companies founded after 1915 have joined the Century Club and, as one might expect, a few others have fallen away. As of 2020 I have identified at least 1200 businesses that have been in continuous, independent operation for 100 years or more. Though that is double the number in my original post on this topic, it is still just 0.02% of all companies in operation in the U.S. Less than 15% of Century Club members are public companies and of those privately-held, over 60% are generational family firms. The companies that make it to their 100th anniversary have found a way to prosper through world wars, economic depression and recessions, environmental disasters, changes in government regulations, globalization, quantum leaps in technology, and major shifts in social and cultural values. Decisions made long ago about company values and culture, investments, and relationships are what will help enable them through the crisis of 2020. Survival, not short-term profits or growth, may be the ultimate performance measure. 

Thursday, September 3, 2020



Indiana is the next mid-west state to highlight Century Club Companies and they have at least 23: five of them are public and 14 are generational family firms (61%). If you know of an Indiana company that has been in continuous, independent operation for 100 years or more and is not on this list, please post a comment!

1851: Smith & Sons Funeral Homes, Columbia City 5th generation (funeral services)

1863: 1st Source, South Bend public (banking & financial services)

1872: Lakeland Financial, Warsaw public (banking & financial services)

1873: Horizon Bancorp, Michigan City public (banking & financial services)

1876: Eli Lilly, Indianapolis public (pharmaceuticals)

1885: Clay City Pottery, Clay City 5th & 6th generations (stoneware)

1885: Steinkamp Home Center, Huntingburg 4th generation? (lumber & building materials)

1891: First Bank of Berne, Berne private (banking)

1891: Kokomo Opalescent Glass, Kokomo 4th generation (glass products)

1901: Perfection Bakeries (Aunt Millie's), Fort Wayne 3rd generation (bakery products)

1910: Urschel Laboratories, Chesterton 4th generation/ESOP (manufacture food processing machinery)

1913: E.F. Marburger Fine Flooring, Fishers 4th generation (retail building materials)

1913: Flinn & Maguire Funeral Home, Franklin 3rd generation (funeral services)

1913: Maco Press, Carmel 2nd generation (printing & publishing)

1913: Taylor's Bakery, Indianapolis 4th generation (retail bakery)

1914: Coney Island, Fort Wayne 3rd generation (restaurant)

1916: Ottenweller, Fort Wayne 4th generation (metal fabrication)

1917: Goudy Brothers Boiler, Kokomo 5th generation (maintenance & repair services)

1917: Ziker Cleaners, Mishawaka 4th generation (cleaning services)

1918: Lima Elevator, Howe co-op (agricultural services)

1919: Cummins, Columbus public (manufacture machinery)

1919: D-A Lubricant, Lebanon private (manufacture engineered products)

1920: Matthews Feed & Grain, Matthews co-op (agricultural services)

Want to learn more about how these and other Century Club Companies have managed to prosper for over 100 years? See my book based on 10 years of research: Lessons From Century Club Companies: Managing for Long-Term Success available on Amazon and at Barnes & Noble online.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Wisconsin's Oldest Companies


Wisconsin has at least 42 Century Club Companies - 6 additions in just the last year. Ownership status of these companies is similar to the national average for 100-year-old companies, with 12% of them public and 88% some form of private ownership. Twenty-seven (64%) are generational family-owned firms; 3-5 are employee-owned (one is both 5th generation and employee-owned, another is a co-op); one is a mutual (sort of customer-owned). As always, please comment if you know of a company that should be added to this list or if you have a correction to any of the information.

1848: Richardson Industries, Sheboygan Falls 6th generation (manufacture wood furniture & building products) Note: Wisconsin became a State in 1848

1849: Menasha Corporation, Neenah 5th generation (manufacture packaging products)

1852: Bradley's Department Store, Delavan private (retail apparel)

1857: Northwestern Mutual, Milwaukee mutual (insurance & financial services)

1873: Kohler, Kohler 4th generation (manufacture plumbing & bathroom products)

1876: Jockey International, Kenosha 3rd generation (manufacture apparel)

1876: Saeman Lumber, Cross Plains 4th generation (lumber & building supplies)

1880: Usinger's, Milwaukee 4th generation (sausages)

1885: Home Lumber, Whitewater 4th generation (lumber & building supplies)

1886: S.C. Johnson & Son, Racine 5th generation (manufacture household products)

1888: Reynolds Transfer & Storage, Madison 5th & 6th generations (moving services)

1889: Jones Dairy Farm, Fort Atkinson 5th generation (sausage & meat products)

1891: Schroeder Bros., Two Rivers 4th generation (retail apparel)

1894: Wiedenbeck, Madison 4th generation (metal fabrication)

1897: First Supply, Monona private (wholesale plumbing/HVAC)

1899: Seroogy's Chocolates, DePere 3rd generation (retail confectionery)

1900: Banner Bancorp, Birnamwood private (banking)

1900: Tomah Cash Mercantile Store, Tomah 4th generation (retail department store)

1902: Manitowoc Company, Manitowoc public (manufacture cranes/lifting equipment)

1903: Badger Corrugating, LaCrosse 5th generation + employee ownership (distributor of lumber & building products)

1903: Harley-Davidson, Milwaukee public (manufacture motorcycles) Note: numerous ownership changes over the years, including time as a subsidiary of another company

1904: Bliffert Lumber & Hardware, Milwaukee 4th & 5th generations (retail lumber & building materials)

1905: Badger Meter, Milwaukee public (manufacture meters & devices)

1905: National Presto Industries, Eau Claire public (manufacture small kitchen appliances)

1905: Wigwam Mills, Sheboygan 4th generation (manufacture textile products - socks)

1907: Kaap's Old World Chocolates, Green Bay private (confectionery)

1908: Holler House, Milwaukee 3rd generation (tavern & bowling alley)

1910: Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery, Ellsworth co-op (cheese & cheese curds)

1911: Beaver Builders Supply, Holmen 3rd generation (lumber & building materials)

1911: Jack Andrea, Kenosha 4th generation (retail cafe & gift shop)

1914: Neckerman Insurance Services, Madison private (insurance agency)

1915: Campbell Lumber & Supply, Superior employee-owned (lumber & building materials)

1916: Nina's Department & Variety Store, Spring Green 4th generation (retail apparel)

1917: Century Fence, Pewaukee 4th generation (pavement marking)

1917: Heiser Automotive, Milwaukee 2nd generation? (retail automotive)

1917: McFarlane Manufacturing, Sauk City 3rd generation (manufacture agricultural equipment)

1917: Oshkosh Corporation, Oshkosh public (manufacture trucks & equipment)

1919: Baird, Milwaukee employee-owned (banking & financial services)

1919: First National Community Bank, New Richmond 3rd generation (banking)

1919: Gordon Auto Parts, Racine 3rd generation (retail auto parts)

1919: Standard Electric Supply, Milwaukee 3rd generation (electrical products distributor & supplier)

1919: Woodman's Market, Janesville employee-owned (retail general merchandise)

1920: Snap-on Tools, Kenosha public (manufacture tools)

To learn more about how these companies have prospered over 100 years and more, see the book based on my research: Lessons from Century Club Companies: Managing for Long-Term Success, available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble on-line

Monday, August 24, 2020

Oldest Companies in Illinois


Illinois has at least 67 Century Club Companies, 11 of which are public. 83% of the state's companies over 100 years old are privately owned and of those, 43 are generational family firms. Here is the list - please leave a comment if you see an error or if you know of a company in continuous, independent operation for over 100 years that should be added to this list. 

1834: Galena Gazette Publications, Galena
1837: Deere & Company, Moline public
1838: Comstock-Castle Stove, Quincy 6th generation
1845: Brunswick, Mettawa public
1848: Knapheide Manufacturing, Quincy, 6th generation                  
1848: Maze Lumber, Peru, 6th generation
1854: Hoskins Building Center, Elizabeth
1855: Baird & Warner, Chicago 5th generation (real estate services)
1857: Iwan Ries & Co., Chicago 5th generation (tool manufacturing)
1857: Klein Tools, Lincolnshire, 5th generation
1857: Zengeler Cleaners, Northbrook, 5th generation
1864: R.R. Donnelley & Sons, Chicago public (printing & publishing)
1865: American Hotel Register, Vernon Hills, 3rd & 4th generations            (manufacture hospitality products)
1865: Law Jones Funeral Home, Savanna 2nd generation
1873: Follett, Westchester 5th generation (publisher educational                  products) 
1875: Anderson's Bookshops, Naperville 5th generation
1880: Citizens State Bank, Lena public
1882: Siemer Milling, Teutopolis 4th generation + ESOP
1885: Cretors, Wood Dale 5th generation (manufacture popcorn                   machines)
1886: Gonella Baking, Schaumburg 4th generation
1887: John Boos & Co., Effingham 3rd generation? (manufacture                  butcher block)
1888: Abbott Laboratories, Abbott Park public
1888: Louis Glunz Beer, Lincolnwood 3rd, 4th & 5th generations
1888: Matot, Bellwood 4th generation (manufacture dumbwaiters)
1889: Northern Trust, Chicago public
1890: A.M. Castle & Co., Oak Brook public (metals distribution)
1890: Great Lakes Dredge & Dock, Oak Brook public
1891: Alexander Lumber, Aurora 4th generation
1891: Bulley & Andrews, Chicago 4th generation (construction)
1892: Lambrecht's Jewelers, Wilmette 4th generation
1893: Moline Wheel, Moline 3rd generation
1893: Vienna Beef, Chicago
1894: Miner Enterprises, Geneva (manufacture rail car components)
1895: Stanford Grain, Stanford (agricultural co-op)
1896: Ed Miniat, South Holland, 4th generation (meat wholesaler)
1896: Tootsie Roll Industries, Chicago public + 2nd generation
1897: Glik's, Granite City 4th generation (retail apparel)
1898: American Nickeloid, Peru (manufacture metal products)
1898: Vita Food Products, Chicago
1903: Morton Buildings, Morton employee-owned
1905: Earlville Farmers' Coop Elevator, Earlville 
1905: Horween Leather, Chicago 4th & 5th generations
1906: Kirchner Building Centers, Kansas 4th generation
1906: Sloan Valve, Franklin Park 4th generation (manufacture                       plumbing systems)
1908: C.C. Wagner, Summit 5th generation (lumber & building                   products)
1911: Milledgeville Home Center, Milledgeville
1912: Illinois Tool Works, Glenview public
1912: Lemfco, Galena 5th generation (manufacture iron castings)
1913: ILMO Products, Jacksonville 4th generation (wholesale industrial gases)
1914: DaValle Jewelers, Harwood Heights 3rd generation
1914: IRMCO, Evanston 4th generation (industrial lubricants)
1914: Mechanical Devices, Bloomington 3rd generation
1914: P.J. Hoerr, Peoria 3rd generation (construction)
1914: Vogue Tyre & Rubber, Mount Prospect 
1914: Waukegan Roofing, Wheeling
1916: Boeing, Chicago public (HQ moved from Seattle 2001)
1916: Ideal Industries, Sycamore 4th generation (manufacture tools)
1917: Chicago Clock, Clarendon Hills 4th generation (retail clocks)
1917: Fellowes Brands, Itasca 4th generation (manufacture office               products)
1917: Radio Flyer, Chicago 3rd generation
1918: Pearl City Elevator, Pearl City agricultural co-op
1919: ConAgra, Chicago public 
1919: Crescent Electric Supply Company, East Dubuque 3rd                      generation? (wholesale electrical products)
1919: Elgin Industries, Elgin 3rd generation (manufacture vehicle components)
1919: Michuda Construction, Tinley Park, 5th generation
1919: Wahl Clipper, Sterling 3rd & 4th generations (manufacture               personal grooming products)
1920: Darvin Furniture, Orland Park 3rd generation (retail                          mattresses)

For more information about how these and other Century Club Companies have survived over the decades, see my book: Lessons from Century Club Companies: Managing for Long-Term Success available in paperback or as an ebook from Amazon or Barnes & Noble

Monday, August 17, 2020

Minnesota's Oldest Companies


Minnesota has 30 companies that have been in business for 100 years or more. Interesting industry concentrations reflect the nature of the state: there are 4 lumber yards and 2 window/door companies; 3 agricultural co-ops and 3 large agricultural products/food companies. Though over half of the companies are generational family firms, Minnesota has a larger percentage of old public companies - 30% - than seen in other states. (Nationally, only 14% of Century Club Companies are public.) Here is the list - as always, if you know of a company that has been in continuous, independent operation for over 100 years and should be added or have any corrections to the information provided, please leave a comment.

1865: Cargill, Minnetonka, 6th generation, agricultural products

1866: General Mills, Golden Valley, public, food products

1870: Tennant, Minneapolis, public, manufacture cleaning equipment

1877: Patterson Companies, St. Paul, public, wholesale medical equipment

1883: Alexander Lumber, Owatonna, private, lumber yard/home center

1886: Fred W. Radde & Sons, New Germany, 5th generation, auctioneers

1886: Shaw/Stewart Lumber, Minneapolis, private, architectural lumber & millwork

1891: Hormel, Austin, public, deli meats/food processing

1896: Schmitt Music, Brooklyn Center, 3d & 4th generations, retail musical instruments

1899: Glamos Wire Products, Hugo, private, wire products for lawn & garden

1901: Tenvoorde Ford, St. Cloud, 3rd & 4th generations, retail autos

1902: 3M, St. Paul, public, conglomerate (business & consumer products)

1902: Target, Minneapolis, public, retail stores

1903: Anderson Corp., Bayport, family (generation?) and ESOP, windows & doors manufacturing

1905: C.H. Robinson, Eden Prairie, public, freight transportation

1905: Farmers Elevator, Pelican Rapids, agricultural co-op

1905: Meadowland Farmers Coop, Lamberton, agricultural co-op

1905: Red Wing Shoes, Red Wing, 3rd generation, footwear manufacture

1905: Wheaton-Dumont Cooperative Elevator, Wheaton, agricultural co-op

1912: Marvin Windows & Doors, Warroad, 4th generation, windows & doors manufacturing

1913: Simonson Lumber, St. Cloud, 3rd generation, lumber & building products

1914: Toro, Bloomington, public, manufacture lawn care equipment

1915: Donaldson, Bloomington, public, manufacture air filters

1915: Kruse Lumber, Rochester, 2nd generation, lumber & building products

1916: Bernick's, St. Cloud, 4th & 5th generations, beverage distributor

1916: Hubert White, Minneapolis, 3rd generation, retail apparel

1917: Cooper's Foods, Chaska, 3rd generation, retail groceries

1919: Jefferson Lines, Minneapolis, 3rd generation, bus transportation

1920: Bemidji Woolen Mills, Bemidji, 4th generation, apparel manufacture and retail sales

1920: Ostbye, Minneapolis, 4th generation, jewelry manufacture

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Ohio's Oldest Companies


My post on Michigan's oldest companies received so much interest I decided to take a look at other states that benefit from having a number of Century Club Companies. Ohio has at least 72 companies that have prospered for 100 years and more. Of these, 13 are public and at least 44 are generational family firms. (One, Smuckers, is both publicly-traded and run by 5th generation family.) If you know of a company that has been in continuous, independent operation for over 100 years and should be added to this list, or have a correction to any of the information provided here, please let me know.

1803: Golden Lamb (restaurant & hotel), Lebanon Run by the family that purchased it in 1926 - generation?

1812: Rider's Inn, Painesville

1833: Austin Powder (industrial explosives), Cleveland

1836: Stevenson Manufacturing (agricultural service), Wellsville

1839: Procter & Gamble, Cincinnati public

1840: Candle-Lite, Leesburg private (manufacture candles)

1840: End of the Commons General Store, Mesopotamia

1842: Verdin Company (bells), Cincinnati 6th generation

1846: Powell Valves, Cincinnati 3rd generation?

1847: Cleveland-Cliffs (mining), Cleveland public

1855: Schoedinger Funeral Services, Columbus 6th generation

1860: Requarth (lumber, kitchens), Dayton 5th generation

          Wilson Bohannan Lock, Marion 7th generation

1866: Baker & Baker Jewelers, Marietta

          Huntington Bancshares, Columbus public

          Sherwin-Williams, Cleveland public

1868: Gordon Lumber, Fremont

1870: Graeter's (ice cream), Cincinnati 5th generation

1871: Ritter's Office Outfitters, Mansfield employee-owned

1872: Ohio Valley Banc Corp, Gallipolis public

1873: Schantz Organ, Orrville 4th generation

1877: Greif (packaging & containers) Delaware public

1880: Freeport Press, New Philadelphia

1881: Seeger Metal & Plastics, Toledo 5th generation

1882: Ohlman Greenhouse, Toledo 5th generation

1885: Belden Brick, Canton 5th generation

          Gibson's Bakery, Oberlin 4th generation

1886: Mennel Milling, Fostoria 5th generation

1887: W.H. Fay (steel haulers), Cleveland 2nd generation

1888: Coyle Funeral & Cremation Services, Toledo 5th generation

1891: Acme Fresh Market, Akron 5th generation

1892: Rieck (HVAC contractor), Dayton 4th generation

1895: Lincoln Electric, Cleveland public

1896: Hill & Griffith (die casting), Cincinnati

1897: Smucker's, Orrville public & 5th generation

1898: Goodyear Tire & Rubber, Akron public

          Robertson's Building Center, Malvern 3rd generation?

1899: Timken Company, North Canton public

          Wayne Savings Bancshares, Wooster public

1900: Block Communications, Toledo 3rd generation

          French Oil Mill Machinery, Piqua 4th generation

          McNerney Companies (office furniture, construction, real                       estate), Northwood 4th generation

1901: Fifth Avenue Floral, Columbus

          Kuhlman Corp (construction products), Maumee 5th generation

1902: Hyde Park Lumber & Design Center, Cincinnati 4th generation

1905: E.F. Boyd & Son (funeral services), Cleveland 4th generation

          Fremont Company (sauces & pickles), Fremont 4th generation

1906: American Electric Power, Columbus public

          American Greetings, Cleveland

1907: Bolin-Dierkes Funeral Home & Crematory, Zanesville 3rd                   generation?

1908: Cellar Lumber, Westerville 4th generation

          Graves Lumber, Copley 4th generation

1909: Ansonia Lumber, Ansonia 4th generation

          Geiger Brothers (contractors, engineers), Jackson

1910: Elford (construction), Columbus

          Henry Bierce Supply (building materials), Tallmadge 3rd                       generation

          Toledo Ticket (printing), Toledo 4th generation

1911: Woolpert (architecture, engineering), Dayton

1914: Bard Manufacturing (HVAC equipment), Bryan 4th generation

1915: Kottler Metal Products, Willoughby 4th generation

          Midmark (medical products), Dayton 4th generation

          Ruhlin (construction), Sharon Center 3rd generation, ESOP

1916: Ondrus Hardware, Toledo 3rd generation

          Walt Sweeney Ford, Cincinnati 3rd generation (and more?)

          Wangler Hardware, Fort Recovery 5th generation

1917: LEWCO (industrial equipment), Sandusky 2nd generation

          Parker Hannifin (industrial controls), Cleveland public

          RMS Freight Systems, Roseville 2nd generation

          Rulli Brothers (retail grocers), Youngstown 3rd generation

1919: Mill-Rose (industrial brushes), Mentor 4th generation

          Schauer Group (insurance agents), Canton 4th generation

1920: Copp Systems (security services), Dayton

If you'd like to learn more about how companies such as these have managed to survive for 100 years and more, you can find my book Lessons from Century Club Companies: Managing for Long-Term Success at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Companies Celebrating 105th Anniversaries in 2020

The 27 companies founded in 1915 that are still prospering in 2020 show an industry concentration not often seen in Century Club Companies: 11 of them are associated in some way with the construction industry. One follower has speculated this is because of the strong local relationships and reputations that are necessary to succeed in the construction business and, as readers of my book Lessons from Century Club Companies: Managing for Long-Term Success know, being an active community supporter is one of the five longevity factors uncovered in my research. I also find it interesting that three of these companies are confectioners - yum! Though five of the companies celebrating their 105th anniversary are manufacturers, just two are public. At least 17 are generational family firms. Here is the list:

Attman's Delicatessen, Baltimore MD (3rd generation)

Baker Roofing, Raleigh NC (3rd generation)

Black & Veatch, Overland Park KS (ESOP)

Birnn Chocolates of Vermont, South Burlington VT (4th generation)

Campbell Lumber & Supply, Superior WI

Charles River Bancorp, Medway MA

Commercial Metals, Irving TX (public)

Cramer's Home Building Centers, East Stroudsburg PA (3rd generation)

Delaware North, Buffalo NY (3rd generation)

Donaldson Company, Bloomington MN (public)

Gannett Fleming, Camp Hill PA

General Agency, Mount Pleasant MI (5th generation)

Haven's Candies, Portland ME

Hubbell, Roth & Clark, Bloomfield Hills MI (3rd generation?)

Kogetsu-Do Confectionery, Fresno CA (3rd generation)

Kottler Metal Products, Willoughby OH (4th generation)

Kruse Lumber, Rocherster MN (2nd generation)

Lanzafame Furniture, Pittsburg CA (3rd generation)

Mannington Mills, Salem NJ (4th generation)

Midmark, Dayton OH (4th generation)

Patrick Lumber, Portland OR

Rygwelski's IGA, Rogers City MI (4th generation)

Ruhlin, Sharon Center OH (3rd generation)

Union Bank & Trust, Monticello AR

Weidel Real Estate, Pennington NJ (4th generation)

Western Specialty Contractors, St. Louis MO (3rd generation)

William P. Meyer, Stamford CT (4th generation)