Monday, November 8, 2021

Welcome 1921 Class to the Century Club!


Here is the list of new Century Club members - those businesses started in 1921 in continuous, independent operation for the last 100 years. They will tell you it has not been without struggle and various crises (including a global pandemic), but they are proud to still be here.  If you know of a business that should be on this list but is not, please leave a comment or send me a message at

Anderson Concrete Columbus OH 5th generation

Avnet Phoenix AZ Public

Blenko Glass Milton WV 4th generation

Brookshire Brothers Lufkin TX Employee-owned

Canova's Galena IL 3rd generation

Clore Furniture Madison VA 4th generation

Coborn's St. Cloud MN 4th generation; ESOP

Colonial Group Savannah GA 4th generation

Fairfield Chair Lenoir NC 

Flottman Company Crestview Hills KY 3rd generation

Hughes Bros. Tire Wilmington DE

LandO'Lakes Arden Hills MN co-op

LBS Des Moines IA Employee-owned

Luecke Jewelers Freeport IL 3rd generation

Mel Foster Co. Davenport IA

MRPC Butler WI 3rd generation

Paige & Bynes Warren OH

Peacock-Gladstone Financial Bedminster NJ Public

Staplcotn Greenwood MS Co-op

St. Julian Winery Paw Paw MI 4th generation

Texas Coffee Company Beaumont TX 3rd generation

Trimini Brothers Philadelphia PA 3rd generation

Unique Pretzel Bakery Reading PA 6th generation

Utz Quality Foods Hanover PA Public; 4th generation management

White Castle Columbus OH 4th generation

Wilbur-Ellis San Francisco CA 3rd generation

Wolfgang Confection York PA 

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Generational Companies As Tourist Attractions


Keramion Pottery  Margarites, Crete
3rd+ generation potter who digs his own clay and fires pots in the traditional manner, with no glaze needed

My husband and I recently returned from a long-awaited trip to the Greek Islands. This was a trip organized by a tour operator specializing in small group walking tours and we spent a delightful seven days visiting Crete, Naxos, Mykonos, Delos, and Santorini. Besides the many amazing archaeological sites, we went to wineries, an olive farm, a small-village potter, a hand-made baklava baker, and a number of small restaurants/tavernas. It didn’t take me long to realize that all these unique visits were generational, family-owned and run operations – some 5th generation. The tour operator realizes these businesses are cultural treasures. Now back home, it makes me wonder whether we honor our generational companies the same way: My hometown has the Lake Michigan beach and Windmill Island and Dutch Village for tourist attractions, but part of its charm is the vibrant downtown with a number of Century Club retail shops. People visiting Holland, Michigan go to the Peanut Store for old-fashioned candy, shop for shoes at Lokers, stop for a bite at Crane's in the City, look for Holland gifts & souvenirs or art supplies at Fris; and maybe venture out to the Holland Bowl Mill to see unique wooden bowls being made or to Graafschap Hardware for a stroll through an old-fashioned hardware store. I’ve become convinced that ‘old companies’ – particularly generational family businesses – help make a community special. Which ones should be on the tourist list for your community?

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Colorado's Oldest Businesses


I can only find nine Century Club Companies based in Colorado; by listing them here I'm hoping you can help me find more - just leave a comment. Thank you.

1857 R&R Market, San Luis 5th generation

1868 Watkins Stained Glass, Englewood 4th generation

1870 Woodward, Fort Collins public

1880 Ball Corp, Broomfield public

1893 The Buckhorn Exchange (steakhouse), Denver

1897 Clark Family Orchards, Palisade 5th & 6th generation

1905 Agfinity, Eaton co-op

1907 Talbott Farms Palisade 4th & 5th generation

1909 Sterling Lumber & Investment, Westminster 

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Nebraska's Oldest Companies

These 18 companies have indeed found the good life in Nebraska. Several generational or employee-owned, they have all survived for over 100 years. If you know of a business that has been in continuous, independent operation for 100 years and is not on this list, please let me know in a comment.

1855 NP Dodge, Omaha, Real estate services 5th generation 

1856 Byron Reed Company, Omaha, Property management 

1857 First National of Nebraska, Omaha Public?

1882 Drake-Williams, Omaha, Custom steel fabrication Employee-owned

1884 Kiewit, Omaha, Construction & engineering Employee-owned

1884 Lueder Construction, Omaha, General contracting & construction 

1886 Magnolia Metal Corp, Omaha, Bronze castings & bearings

1891 Wm Krotter Co, O'Neill,  Home & auto center 5th generation

1895 Renze, Omaha, Manufacture display products/signage, 3rd & 4th generation

1899 Sack Lumber, Crete, Lumber & building materials 4th generation

1901 Diamond Bar Ranch, Stapleton, Cattle & horses 5th generation

1902 Physicians Mutual Insurance, Omaha, Insurance carrier 

1909 Mutual of Omaha, Omaha, Insurance carrier

1910/1928 Mead Lumber & Knecht Home Ctr, Columbus, Lumber/building materials Employee-owned

1917 HDR, Omaha, Engineering/architecture/construction Employee-owned

1917 Omaha Steaks, Omaha, Food products 5th generation

1917 Union Bank & Trust, Lincoln, Banking & financial services Family-owned

1918 All Makes, Omaha, Office furnishings & fixtures 4th generation

Thursday, May 27, 2021

12 Companies Celebrate 125th Anniversaries in 2021


Of the 12 companies founded in 1896 still operating independently in 2021, just one is public (Tootsie Roll Industries) - and even they are run by a 2nd generation owner family member. Nine others are generational family firms. Representing a variety of industries and multiple states, here is the list:

Donckers Candies & Gifts, Marquette MI (retail confectionery)

Ed Miniat, South Holland IL (meat & poultry products) 4th & 5th generation

Hill and Griffith, Cincinnati OH (foundry & die casting products)

Lester Group, Martinsville VA (lumber products & real estate) 2nd generation

Leys, Christie & Co. Scarsdale NY (retail jewelers) 3rd generation

Lodge Manufacturing, South Pittsburg TN (manufacture cast iron pans) 5th generation

Matthews & Fields Lumber, Henrietta NY (lumber & building materials) 4th generation

Nugent Sand, Louisville KY (mining sand & gravel) 3rd generation

Paxton Media Group, Paducah KY (printing & publishing) 5th generation

Schmitt Music, Brooklyn Center MN (retail musical instruments) 3rd & 4th generations

The Breakers Palm Beach, Palm Beach FL (accommodation services) 4th generation

Tootsie Roll Industries, Chicago IL (candy products) public; 2nd generation

Note: Faultless Healthcare Linen  of Kansas City MO, also celebrates their 125th anniversary this year. I don't include them in the list, above, because a majority interest in the company was purchased and they are now listed as "an ImageFIRST company" rather than an independent firm.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

195 Years in Business and Still Going Strong


Three U.S. companies founded in 1826 celebrate 195th anniversaries of operation this year - just 5 more years to make the 200 mark!

C.S. Osborne, Harrison NJ 8th generation (industrial, hand & leather tools manufacturer)

Lake Champlain Transportation, Burlington VT private - 2nd generation (ferry transport)

Union Oyster House, Boston MA private - 2nd generation? (seafood restaurant)

Monday, March 29, 2021

Century Club Companies With Significant Anniversaries in 2021

Every year in business past 100 is significant. However, these companies deserve a special shout-out for anniversaries of over 200 years:

325 years: Kenyon's Grist Mill, founded 1696, West Kingston RI  2nd generation

285 years: Lakeside Mills, founded 1736, Spindale NC  4th generation

255 years: Beekman Arms (inn and tavern), founded 1766, Rhinebeck NY 

235 years: Howard, Kohn, Sprague & FitzGerald (legal services), founded 1786, Hartford CT

220 years: Sawyer Bentwood (furniture), founded 1801, Whitingham VT 

215 years: Ye Olde Pepper Candy Companie, founded 1806, Salem MA  4th generation

205 years: Hodgdon Yachts, founded 1816, East Boothbay ME, 5th generation

205 years: York Water, founded 1816, York PA, public utility