Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Oldest Companies in Missouri


Missouri has nearly 50 Century Club Companies, some started back in the mid 1800s with three over 175 years old. Seven of these are publicly-traded, though three of them are still led by generational family members; three are employee-owned and one is a cooperative. Most of Missouri's old companies are based in Kansas City (17), though several are in St. Louis (10) and Springfield (8), as well as a few others. As always, if you know of a Missouri-based company that has been in continuous, independent operation for 100 years or more, please post a comment so I can add them to the list.

1839    Schaeffer Manufacturing, St. Louis 5th & 6th generation (oil & lubricants)

1843    John Baumann Safe Company, St. Louis 5th generation (service, buy & sell safes)

1843    The Uhlmann Company (Standard Milling), Kansas City 3rd generation (flour products)

1850    A.E. Schmidt Billiards, Chesterfield 5th & 6th generation (build & sell pool tables)

1854    Dierbergs Markets, Chesterfield 3rd generation (retail groceries)

1856    McCormick Distilling (Holladay Distillery),Weston private (alcoholic beverages)

1861    Rinehart's News Agency, Kirksville 2nd generation? (retail books, music, antiques)

1865    Commerce Bancshares, Kansas City public & 6th generation (banking & finance)

1865    SGC Foodservice, Springfield 4th generation (wholesale food service)

1869    Graybar, St. Louis employee-owned (wholesale equipment)

1869    Missouri Meerschaum Company, Washington private (corn cob pipes)

1873    Fehlig Brothers Box & Lumber, St. Louis 5th generation (lumber & building materials)

1873    Grant Renne & Sons, Kansas City 4th & 5th generation (construction, foundation repair)

1873    Lathrop Gage, Kansas City private (legal services)

1875    Gallup Map & Art, Kansas City 2nd generation? (printing & publishing)

1878    Kessinger Hunter, Kansas City private (commercial real estate)

1880    Clarkson Construction, Kansas City 6th generation (construction bridges & highways)

1880    Shutte Lumber, Kansas City 2nd generation? (lumber & building materials)

1883    Leggett & Platt, Carthage public (manufacture furniture)

1885    Ollis/Akers/Arney, Springfield 4th generation (insurance agency)

1886    Cullum & Brown, Kansas City private (wholesale industrial equipment distributor)

1886    Tension Envelope, Kansas City 4th generation (manufacture/print paper products)

1890    Emerson Electric, Ferguson public (manufacture electrical equipment)

1890    Stifel Financial, St. Louis public (banking & financial services)

1891    Crown Linen Service, Mexico 5th generation (laundry services)

1893    U.S. Engineering, Kansas City 5th generation (engineering, construction, real estate)

1895    Kansas City Life Insurance, Kansas City public & 4th generation (insurance carrier)

1896    Faultless Healthcare Linen, Kansas City 4th generation (uniforms & linen services)

1897    Rathbone Hardware, Springfield 4th generation (retail hardware)

1898    Alter Trading, St. Louis 5th generation (wholesale recycling)

1898    Burns & McDonnell, Kansas City employee-owned (construction, engineering)

1898    Eaton Funeral Home, Sullivan private (funeral services)

1898    McKelvey Homes, Chesterfield private (construction)

1901    Straub's Fine Grocers, Clayton 3rd & 4th generation (retail groceries)

1903    Neale & Newman, Springfield private (legal services)

1905    Rau Construction, Kansas City 5th generation - started 1870 in Germany (construction)

1906    Springfield Paper, Springfield 4th generation (wholesale paper & cleaning products)

1909    Casper's, Springfield private (restaurant - chili & burgers)

1910    Hallmark, Kansas City 3rd generation & ESOP (printing & publishing)

1912    Independent Stave, Lebanon 4th generation (manufacture metal products)

1913    Crown Candy, St. Louis 3rd generation (soda fountain/cafe)

1913    Guaranty Federal Bancshares, Springfield public (banking & finance)

1913    UMB Financial Corp, Kansas City public & 4th generation (banking & finance)

1914    Harry Cooper Supply, Springfield 4th generation (wholesale plumbing & electrical services)

1915    Western Specialty Contractors, St. Louis 3rd generation (construction - maintenance & restoration)

1918    Baldwin Technology, St. Louis private (manufacture printing equipment)

1919    Farmers Elevator & Exchange, Monroe City co-op (wholesale feed & grain)


1922    Jones Financial Companies, St. Louis employee-owned (financial services)

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Congratulations to New Century Club Members


Congratulations to these 15 companies joining the Century Club this year - what an accomplishment! Twelve of the 15 are privately-owned and eight are generational family firms. Proving you don't need to be in a certain industry to survive, they represent retail, wholesale, manufacturing, utilities, and various services. These companies are located in 12 states, mainly in the mid-west and New England.

It's not quite the end of the year, but I wanted to post this list now so I might hear from companies I may have missed that are celebrating 100 years of independent operation in 2020. Here is my list:

Alpha Bar, Sault Ste. Marie MI 3rd generation

Bemidji Woolen Mills, Bemidji MN 4th generation

Copp Systems, Dayton OH

Darvin Furniture, Orland Park IL 3rd generation

Dawn Foods, Jackson MI 3rd generation

Matthews Feed & Grain, Matthews IN co-op

New Era Cap, Buffalo NY 4th generation

O'Conner, Brooks & Co, Dubuque IA

Ostbye, Minneapolis MN 4th generation

Piemonte Ravioli, New York City NY

PPL, Allentown public

Scholastic, New York City, NY public & 2nd generation

Snap-On-Tools, Kenosha WI public 

Switlik Parachute, Trenton NY 4th generation

Two Rivers Cooperative, Pella IA co-op

Thursday, October 1, 2020



Kansas has at least 21 companies over 100 years old; half are generational family-owned businesses, two are employee-owned and only one is public. Four are funeral homes (one in its 7th generation) and four are financial institutions (including the public firm). As always, if you have corrections to this information or know of a Kansas company that has been in continuous, independent operation for 100 years or more and is not on this list, please leave a comment. (Note: there are several Kansas City businesses over 100 years old, but they are located in Missouri. I'll do Missouri next.)

1855: Davis Funeral Chapel, Leavenworth 7th generation (funeral services)

1856: Exchange Bank & Trust, Atchison private (banking & financial services)

1856: R.C. Perine & Son, Topeka 5th generation (welding services)

1857: McCaffree-Short Title, Leavenworth private (real estate services)

1858: Great Western Manufacturing, Leavenworth 2nd generation? (manufacture sifting machinery)

1868: Byrd Memorial, Atchison private (stone memorial products)

1876: Tillie's Flower Shop, Wichita 3rd generation (retail florist)

1886: Legacy Bank, Colwich 3rd generation (banking)

1887: Jost Funeral Home, Hillsboro private (funeral services)

1892: Anderson Office Supply, Newton 5th generation (retail books, office supplies & miscellanea)

1893: Capitol Federal Financial, Topeka public (banking & financial services)

1893: Newcomer Funeral Services, Topeka 4th generation (funeral services)

1903: A.L. Huber General Contractor, Overland Park 4th generation (construction)

1905: Home Lumber, Ashland employee-owned (lumber & building materials)

1908: Golden Star, Overland Park 3rd generation (manufacture cleaning products)

1908: Massman Construction Company, Overland Park 4th generation (heavy civil and marine construction)

1910: Offerle Co-op Grain & Supply, Offerle co-op (agricultural services)

1915: Black & Veatch, Overland Park employee-owned (architecture, engineering & construction)

1916: Brennan Mathena Funeral Services, Topeka private (funeral services)

1916: Brier Payne Meade Insurance, Topeka 4th generation (insurance agency)

1917: American Bank, Baxter Springs private (banking)

Friday, September 25, 2020

Iowa's Oldest Companies


Iowa has many Century Club companies - probably more than I have identified. Below are the 46 I have in my data base, only two of which are public; 29 are generational family firms. If you know of an Iowa-based business that has been in continuous, independent operation for 100 years or more, please let me know by posting a comment.

1852: Breitbach's Country Dining, Balltown 6th generation (restaurant)

1854: Hands Jewelers, Iowa City 4th generation (retail jeweler)

1854: Saboe Jewelry, West Union 2nd generation (retail jeweler)

1855: Morrison Brothers Company, Dubuque 3rd generation (manufacturing equipment)

1856: AY McDonald Manufacturing, Dubuque 5th generation (manufacturing medal products)

1856: Gilcrest/Jewett Lumber, Waukee private (lumber & building materials)

1856: Hubbell Realty, Des Moines 5th generation (construction & development)

1856: Laufersweiler-Sievers Funeral Home, Fort Dodge 5th generation (funeral services)

1866: Kurtz Hardware, Des Moines 5th generation (wholesale hardware)

1870: Klauer Manufacturing, Dubuque 5th generation (metal building products)

1870: Molo Companies, Dubuque 4th generation (petroleum/HVAC products & services)

1872: Von Maur, Davenport 4th generation (department store)

1876: Lenz Monuments, Dubuque private (stone memorial products)

1877: Mechanical Air Systems, Mason City private (HVAC/plumbing contractor)

1878: Home Mutual Insurance Association of Carroll County, Manning mutual (insurance carrier)

1883: The Adams Company, Dubuque private (manufacturing metal parts)

1887: Cottingham & Butler, Dubuque 3rd & 4th generations (insurance broker)

1890: EJ Voggenthaler, Dubuque 4th generation (steel building materials)

1890: Engquist Lumber, Harcourt 4th generation (lumber & building materials)

1890: Marshalltown, Marshalltown private (manufacturing tools)

1891: H.L. Munn Lumber, Ames 5th generation (lumber & building materials)

1892: Geisler Brothers Company, Dubuque 5th generation (HVAC services)

1892: Seiffert Building Supplies, Davenport 2nd generation (lumber & building materials)

1893: Abeln Abstract & Title Company, Dubuque 2nd generation (real estate services)

1893: Mulgrew/Perfection Oil, Tamarack Park 4th generation? (petroleum products)

1893: West Bancorp, West Des Moines public (banking & financial services)

1894: Union-Hoeman Press, Dubuque 3rd generation (commercial printing)

1897: Kintzinger Harmon Konrady, Des Moines private (law firm)

1898: FEH Design, Des Moines private (architects)

1903: Conlon Construction, Dubuque 4th generation (construction)

1903: Lisle Corporation, Clarinda 3rd, 4th, 5th & 6th generations (manufacturing tools)

1904: Hartig Drug, Dubuque 4th generation (retail drugstore)

1904: Spahn & Rose Lumber, Dubuque 4th generation (lumber & building materials)

1905: Atlantic Bottling, Clarinda 3rd generation (beverage bottling & distribution)

1905: Farmers Lumber, Rock Valley co-op (lumber & building materials)

1907: Smith Funeral Homes and Cremation Service, Grinnell 5th generation (funeral services)

1909: Bauman's, Mount Vernon private (retail apparel)

1910: Fidelity Bank & Trust, Dyersville private (banking & financial services)

1910: Remsen Farmers Cooperative, Remsen co-op (agricultural services)

1911: Employers Mutual Casualty, Des Moines public (insurance carrier)

1914: American Pop Corn (Jolly Time), Sioux City 4th generation (popcorn & snacks)

1916: Lime Rock Springs/Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company of Dubuque, Dubuque 4th generation (beverage bottling & distribution)

1917: G&L Clothing, Des Moines private (retail apparel)

1920: O'Conner, Brooks & Co., Dubuque private (CPA/accounting services)

1920: Two Rivers Cooperative, Pella co-op (agricultural services)

1920s: Carter Printing, Des Moines 4th generation? (printing & publishing)

[1925: Pella Corporation, Pella 3rd generation? (building products)]

Learn more about how these companies managed to thrive for a century and more in my book Lessons From Century Club Companies: Managing for Long-Term Success available  in paperback and as an eBook from Amazon and Barnes & Noble

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