In June I stated a new line on Twitter, #100over100, to highlight Michigan companies that are over 100 years old. I started with companies in West Michigan and should make it up to 40 with these. Then I will branch out to other Michigan companies until I reach 100. Right now, however, I only have around 75 Michigan companies in my national data base of companies over 100, so if you know of any please let me know. It is particularly difficult to identify small, privately-owned companies unless you live in the area and are familiar with them. When I'm finished, I plan to contact our governor to see if I can convince him to start the kind of "Century Club" that is in place in some other states. (Each year the governor in these states holds a ceremony for all companies over 100, with a special welcome to those just hitting the centennial mark.)
I love seeing new companies start and entrepreneurship is certainly an important part of our state's economic recovery. But I also want us to recognize the amazing achievement of those firms that have survived world wars, economic depression, globalization, huge changes in technology, and major socio-cultural changes to serve their customers, provide jobs, and add vibrancy to their local communities for over 100 years. So check out my twitter (@vtenhaken) and see how many companies you recognize - some are well-known public companies, though most are small, family-owned firms.