Tuesday, June 28, 2022

4th Edition of "Lessons from Century Club Companies" Now Available


This book is the result of over 10 years of research on thousands of companies - large and small, public and private - attempting to identify practices and policies century-old companies use to survive for the long term. The 2022 edition includes an updated list of Century Club Companies, through those founded in 1921. Even though a number of companies have been added since the last edition, the overall number of CCCs has remained fairly stable at around 1350.  Of those dropping off the list (because they closed, were acquired, or broken up) 17% were public. This statistic is interesting because only 11% of CCCs overall are publicly-traded. The percentage of publicly-owned "old" companies has been steadily dropping since I first published my research in 2016. Another interesting statistic: 13% of the CCCs who have publicly-traded stock also have generational family members actively involved - in management and/or on the board.


Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Oldest Companies in Maine


Maine has nearly 30 companies that have been in business for over 100 years; just one of them, Auburn Bancorp, is publicly-traded and 10 are generational family-owned firms. Over 1/3 are financial institutions and 4 of those are mutuals. There is a well-known retailer (L.L. Bean), 3 manufacturers, a few lumber yards, and a variety of retail businesses. Here is the list - if you know of a Maine company in continuous independent operation for over 100 years that is not on this list, please leave a comment.

1660/67 Seaside Inn, Kennebunkport, 9th generation

1816 Hodgdon Yachts, East Boothbay, 5th/6th generation

1821 Bartlett Yarns, Harmony

1827 Saco and Biddeford Savings, Saco, mutual

1835 Hussey Seating, North Berwick, 6th/7th generation

1844 S.W. Collins, Lincoln (lumber & building supplies), 5th generation

1848 Hancock Lumber, Casco, 6th generation

1848 Macomber, Farr & Whitten, Augusta (insurance agents)

1852 Bangor Bancorp, Bangor

1852 Bath Savings Institution, Bath, mutual

1856 Skowhegan Savings Bank, Slowhegan

1866 Garland Manufacturing, Saco (tools), 6th generation

1866 Norway Savings Bank, Norway

1868 Gorham Bancorp, Gorham

1870 Androscoggin Bancorp, Lewiston, mutual

1871 Kennebunk Savings Bancorp, Kennebunk, mutual

1872 Matthew's Pub, Portland

1878 Geiger, Lewiston (printing & publishing), 5th generation

1887 Auburn Bancorp, Auburn, public

1888 Augusta Fuel (AFC), Augusta

1888 Rockland Savings Bank, Rockland

1889 Bangor Publishing, Bangor, 4th generation

1902 Amato's, Portland (restaurant)

1908 Dennis Paper & Food Service, Hampden (wholesale groceries), 100% employee-owned

1909 Ripley and Fletcher Ford, South Paris

1912 L.L. Bean, Freeport, 4th generation

1913 Hub Furniture, Portland, 3rd/4th generation

1915 Haven's Candies, Portland

Thursday, June 2, 2022

Milestones of 200+ Years for These Century Club Companies


Fourteen Century Club Companies celebrate amazing anniversaries in 2022. Just one of them (Wiley) is publicly traded, though the involvement of the founding family is ongoing. Join me in congratulating the survival of these companies for 200 years and more:

200 years: Stuard Funeral Home, Ardmore PA, 6th generation, founded 1822

205 years: Atkins & Pearce, Covington KY, 7th generation, producer of high performance textiles

                 Claflin, Warwick RI, medical equipment distributor, founded 1817

210 years: Bear Funeral Home, Churchville VA, 6th generation

                 Rider's Inn, Painesville OH, founded 1812

215 years: John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken NJ, 6th & 7th generation, publisher of academic materials, founded 1807 (also listed on the NYSE)

220 years: Rogers Funeral Home, Frankfort KY, 7th generation, founded 1802

225 years: Birkett Mills, Penn Yan NY, founded 1797

                 Gruber Almanack, Hagerstown MD, 8th generation

                 Wayside Inn, Middleton VA, founded 1797

230 years: Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, New York NY, law firm founded 1792

270 years: Caswell-Massey, Edison NJ, soap & fragrance producer, founded 1752

                 Philadelphia Contributionship, Philadelphia PA, mutual insurance company founded 1752                   by Benjamin Franklin

355 years: Seaside Inn, Kennebunkport ME, 9th generation, founded 1667 or earlier (perhaps 1660)

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 centuryclubcompanies@gmail.com

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

1916: Burwell Butter Factory (Independent Oil Co), Burwell

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