Friday, June 1, 2018

16 U.S. Companies Celebrate 110th Anniversary in 2018



Century Club congratulations to these companies celebrating 110 years in business! Three of the 16 are public and the rest are privately-owned. One is employee owned and 8 are generational family-owned businesses.

Armaly Brands, Walled Lake MI, Sponges and cleaning products, 3rd generation

Berdine's Five & Dime, Harrisville WV, Retail general store

Briggs & Stratton, Wauwatosa WI, Manufacturing (engines)

Bush Brothers, Knoxville TN, Food products (beans), 4th generation

CC Wagner, Summit IL, Retail hardware, 5th generation

Chelsea Lumber, Chelsea MI, Retail building materials

Citizens Bank, Philadelphia MS, Banking & finance

Dennis Paper & Food Service, Bangor ME, Wholesale grocery products, Employee-owned

F&M Bank, Timberville VA, Banking & finance

Frank Perlstein & Sons, Trenton NJ, Plumbing heating & A/C, 3rd generation

George W. Auch, Pontiac MI, Architecture engineering & construction

Harley Ellis Devereaux, Southfield MI, Architecture engineering & construction

Holler House, Milwaukee WI, Retail eating & drinking, 3rd generation

Huppin's, Spokane WA, Retail consumer electronics, 4th generation

Irwin Seating, Grand Rapids MI, Manufacturing furniture, 4th generation

Pero Family Farms Food, Delray Beach FL, Food products (vegetables), 4th generation

Monday, April 16, 2018

Survival Is The Ultimate Performance Measure


In my humble opinion....I would love to do a brief pitch on PBS' News Hour IMHO about corporate longevity. Think about it: businesses that are still operating after 100 years have survived world wars, economic depressions and recessions, globalization, technology advances that have obsoleted whole industries, massive changes in legal, social and cultural norms...and yet they thrive. Shouldn't we celebrate them? These are the best of business - companies who care about their customers, employees, business partners, and communities - they wouldn't have survived without their web of support and they know it. Many are family owned, most are small to medium sized businesses. These are they type of companies that form the core of our economy, yet are mostly overlooked in our media and business education. At least 1,000 U.S. companies are over 100 years old (I call them Century Club Companies).  Help me highlight these special firms.


Wednesday, March 21, 2018

14 U.S. Companies Celebrate 125 Years in Business



The year was 1893. The World's Fair opened to the public in Chicago. The crash of the New York Stock Exchange caused the Panic of 1893, triggering an economic depression. And these companies were founded and managed to survive other depressions as well as world wars and many other challenges. Here's to the 14 survivors of 1893!

Capitol Federal Financial, Topeka KS, Banking and finance

Dittrich Furs, Detroit MI, 5th generation, Retail apparel

General Employment Enterprises*, Naperville IL, Employment agency

Green Mountain Inn, Stowe VT, Accommodation services

Henderson Brothers, Pittsburgh PA, Insurance agency

Henry the Hatter, Detroit MI, Retail apparel

The Little Shamrock, San Francisco CA, Restaurant and bar

Modell Financial, New York City NY, Pawn broker, 4th generation

Schroeder's, San Francisco CA, Restaurant and bar

Stewart Information Services*, Houston TX, 5th generation management, Real estate title insurance

Trimpers Rides, Ocean City MD, 4th generation, Amusement park

Vienna Beef, Chicago IL, Food products

West Bancorp*,  West Des Moines IA, Banking and finance

ZR Graphics, Zeeland MI, 4th generation, Printing services

* Public company; all others are privately-owned

Monday, March 19, 2018

18 Companies Celebrate 120 Years in Business



At least eighteen U.S. companies are celebrating being in business for 120 years in 2018.  In 1898 William McKinley was president and the Spanish-American war began. These companies have survived several other wars as well as economic depression, globalization, huge advances in technology, and major changes in legal, social, and cultural norms. Join me in congratulating these amazing firms:

American Nickeloid, Peru IL - Metal products

Bank of England, England AR - Banking & finance

Bank of Gravett, Gravett AR - Banking & finance, 4th generation

Bechtel, San Francisco CA - Construction & engineering, 5th generation

Detroit Store Fixture, Detroit MI - Store fixtures & accessories

Eaton Funeral Home, Sullivan MO - Funeral services

Goodyear Tire & Rubber*, Akron OH - Manufacture tires

International Paper*, Memphis TN - Paper products

J. Elmer Turner Realtors, Dallas TX - Real estate, 5th generation

J Palazzo Son, New Hyde Part NY - Perfume manufacture, 3rd generation

Mosher's Jewelers, Port Huron MI - Retail jeweler, 4th generation

Old Print Shop, New York NY - Retail art, 3rd generation

Rambusch Lighting, Jersey City NJ - Lighting manufacturer, 4th generation

Thomas Publishing, New York City NY - Business information publisher

Vita Food Products, Chicago IL - Seafood & specialty foods

Warnock Furniture, Magnolia AR - Retail furniture, 5th generation

Weldon, Williams & Lick, Fort Smith AR - Printer (tickets)

Worksman Cycles, Ozone Park NY - Bicycle manufacturing

* Publicly traded company (all others are privately-owned)




Thursday, January 25, 2018

150 Year Anniversary Celebrations for Ten U.S. Companies in 2018



Century Club congratulations go out to 10 companies founded in 1868 and celebrating 150 years in business this year. All are privately-owned, and six are generational family businesses. Five are services companies (two banking; one funeral home; one plumbing, heating & A/C; and one photography). Three are retail businesses (a bakery, a paint store, and a lumber yard); and two are manufacturers (one of building products and one food products). 150 years of continuous operation is an amazing feat - please join me to celebrating the following companies:

Bachrach Photography, New York City, NY (and other locations). Their founder took the only photo of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address and has photographed every U.S. head of state since. 4th generation.

Benjamin Obdyke Inc. Horsham, PA (Philadelphia suburb). A leading supplier of building moisture management products, ridge vents, and rain screens.

Budeke's Paints & Decorating, Baltimore, MD. One of the oldest independent paint retailers in the U.S. now run by 5th generation family.

Citizen's National Bank of Texas, Waxahachie, TX (and 8 other Texas locations). CNB claims to be the third oldest independent bank in Texas. Now run by 4th generation of the Singleton family.

Gordon Lumber, Fremont, OH.  Lumber and building materials for contractors and retail customers.

Gorham Savings Bank, Gorham, ME. Commitment to community (one of the 5 key longevity factors exhibited by Century Club companies) is deeply ingrained in this locally owned and operated bank. Their motto: "It's not how big your bank is. It's how much your bank believes in you."

McIlhenny Company, Avery Island, LA. You know them for their Tabasco sauce (longevity factor #2 is having a unique core strength - literally a secret sauce for the McIlhenny's), they are now run by 6th generation family.

Naegelin's Bakery, New Braunfels, TX. Claims to be the oldest continuously operating bakery in Texas, it is now run by 2nd generation Granzin family, who took over from the 3rd generation Naegelins in the 1980s. They they kept the Naegelins' recipes (their secret sauce) and are especially proud of their famous apple strudel.

Proctor Funeral Home, Camden, AR. They don't say much about themselves, but the reviews talk about the "helpful and caring people, especially in a difficult time" and describe it as the best funeral home in the area.

Sieb Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning, Monroe, MI. Claiming to be the oldest family-owned plumbing and heating company in the United States, this 5th generation business does residential and commercial projects.

Congratulations to all nine companies - and best wishes for at least another 50 years to celebrate 200 years!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Two Firms Celebrate 175 Years in 2018


The year is 1843. John Tyler was President of the United States (the Vice President post was vacant). Edgar Allan Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart" is published. The first major wagon train headed for the American Northwest set out in May from Missouri with over 1,000 pioneers. And the John Baumann Safe Company was established in St. Louis. Now in its 5th generation of family ownership and still providing residential, commercial, and automotive locksmith needs in addition to safes and security systems. In line with many other Century Club Companies, they say it is their "personal service, experience, and long-term relationships" that have enabled them to succeed for 175 years.


Another company that began in 1843 and has lasted to celebrate their 175 anniversary in 2018 is Frederick Mutual Insurance Company of Maryland. Before there were insurance companies, communities realized that neighbors needed to band together to protect each other from fire loss. This "mutual" concern and cooperation was the driving force behind the establishment of companies such as Frederick Mutual. By sharing in the protection risk, generations of individuals and businesses are able to insure their homes and businesses. Owned by the policy holders, this unique form of business  has enabled Frederick Mutual's survival over the long term. As they state on their website: "Since 1843 the founding principle of our company has been Peace of Mind. We are still here for the benefit of the public and are owned by our policyholders."


Tuesday, January 2, 2018

U.S. Businesses Celebrate 200 Years


Our country will be over 240 years old in 2018 and there are some U.S. companies that have been in business almost as long. Congratulations on proving that "survival is the ultimate performance measure!"

200 Years: Eaton Funeral Homes, Needham, MA - 6th generation funeral home founded 1818

205 Years: Cooper, Erving and Savage (law firm), Albany, NY - founded by a son of James Fenimore Cooper in 1813

220 Years: Alan McIlvain (Pennsylvania) and J. Gibson McIlvain (Maryland) - 7th generation lumber companies founded by Hugh McIlvain in 1798