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If running a business hard, keeping that business going for more than a century is almost impossible.
According to the BLS, only 15% of businesses make it one decade. 20% don’t even last a year. Yet, in every state there are notable exceptions that have defied the odds.
The 50 businesses below have defied the odds and all been in operation more than 100 years. Some companies pre-date their state’s admission into the union. A few are even older than the United States.
We dug through the data, historical records, and other publications to find the oldest running business in each state that has defied the odds and is still going strong.
Keep reading to see the oldest business in your state and how it has stood the tests of time.
Bromberg’s was founded in 1863 by Frederick Bromberg. A Prussian immigrant, Bromberg came to America after his country was invaded by Napoleon and opened what would become a profitable jewelry store. Through keen business decisions and a bit of luck, Bromberg’s survived a fire, stock market crash, and a yellow fever epidemic, and is still in operation today.
Alaska Commercial Company is a chain of stores with deep history in Alaska. While today the stores resemble typical grocery stores, in Alaska’s early days customers would barter for goods with gold, fish, and furs since cash was scarce. However, the Alaska Commerical Company was more than just a place to trade fish for flour, it was the center of many small communities. The stores often served as courthouses, post offices, and community centers.
The Palace is a saloon straight from Arizona’s wild west day. Located on historic Whiskey Row, The Palace was once a favorite of outlaws and saw it’s share of gun fights. The crafty bar survived Prohibition as a speakeasy and was rebuilt after a devastating fire by loyal patrons. Today, you can still grab a drink at this historic bar, just walk through the swinging doors, order an Old Overholt, and let your cowboy out.
Ducommun was founded in 1849 in California started out as a hardware store. Ducommun has transformed with time into a leading company in the aerospace, industrial natural resources and medical industries.
Dario Gallegos started R&R in 1857, in a thick-adobe walled building. He was the only grocer in the remote town of San Luis. To this day, the grocer saves locals from making long drives. So tight knit is the community, the store currently opens for two hours on Sunday to serve the after church crowd.
Connecticut’s Field View Farm may operate in the the transportation industry now, but to locals they’ll always be known as a farm. That’s partially because the dairy farm makes an amazing ice cream cone. Like many historic businesses, Field View Farm has survived economic catastrophes, World Wars, and more recently a devastating fire in the 90s. But still, Field View Farm remains strong, scooping ice cream that’s out of this world.
Dupont started out as a gunpowder mill in 1802. However, with time, the company transformed into a technology company. It produced innovative technology such as Freon to keep fridges cold. Which is a pretty cool thing to do.
Founded in 1851, Pensacola Hardware definitely didn’t sell all those fancy power tools we use today. However, through quality customer service, resilience, and a bit of luck, they’ve managed to stay running to this day.
Downtown Savannah is home to the Pirates’ House, Georgia’s oldest company that is still in operation. The Pirates’ House was built on land that used to house a gardener of a small botanical garden. However, as Savannah grew into a bustling port, the building was transformed into an inn. While the tavern once hosted seamen pirates (one of who is rumored to haunt the restaurant today), now is a favorite of Savannah tourists.
Punahou School in Honolulu was founded in 1841. The private school has educated members of the Hawaiian royal family. Today the school offers students an exemplary education and has one of the top sports programs in the state.
Joyce Ranch was founded in 1864 in Idaho when homestead ranches dotted the land. Today, it stands as an exception- a ranch that has defied time and trials to stubbornly exist where others have fell. 5 generations have tended the livestock, passing the reigns on to the next.
C.D. Peacock Jewelry was founded in Chicago in 1837. Today, the jeweler still offers fine and premium jewelry to its customers.
The Log Inn was founded in 1824 as a stage coach stop. Abraham Lincoln himself stopped in for a meal. Today, the home-style cooking is still warm and delicious and worth a visit.
Breitbach’s was founded in 1852 in a tiny Iowa town of Balltown. The restaurant has been destroyed twice by fire, yet each time has been rebuilt. Today, the restaurant is run by the same family who founded it and serves country cooking.
Davis Funeral Chapel is the oldest continuously run business in Kansas. The business has been providing comfort and care to grieving families for centuries.
Talbot Tavern was founded in 1779 and served as a stagecoach stop. Many stopped for a hot fire, warm food, and safe, dry lodgings as they headed west. Some of the more illustrative guests include the likes of Andrew Jackson and, if you believe the rumors, a French king. Early guests slept in group lodgings, with one room for men and another for women. Guests nowadays stay in more private accommodations, but still enjoy the same hospitality as guests did more than two centuries ago.
Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop is not only the oldest company in Louisiana, it is rumored to be the oldest surviving structure used as a bar in North America. Founded in 1772, the building has a colorful history involving pirates and smuggling. These days, it is a lovely historical bar, worth a detour from the drunken crush of Bourbon Street for anyone visiting New Orleans. Be careful, the bar is charmingly lit by candles and the VooDoo Daquiris are too good to spill.
The Seaside Inn has been run by the Gooch family since its founding in 1667. Today it still welcomes guests on Kennebuck Beach with quaint and homey lodgings.
The oldest still running business in Maryland is Middleton Tavern. The historic tavern served George Washington and other founding fathers. While you aren’t likely to run into a president there today, you will run into crab cakes, rockfish, oysters, and clams.
Barker’s Farm is the oldest still running business in Massachusetts, and nearly the entire country. Barker’s is an American farm and orchard that has been run by eleven generations of the same family.
New Hudson Inn was founded in 1831. If you stop by today, you’ll find a bar with a historic flair that serves great pub food and an impressive range of local beers.
Paul Fire And Marine Insurance company was founded in Minnesota in 1853. The St. Paul company was formed out of necessity. Many locals found that east coast insurance companies were exceedingly slow in filling their insurance claims. The company barely survived the Panic of 1857, but survive it did and it has grown into a powerhouse in the insurance industry.
King’s Tavern is the oldest still running establishment in Mississippi. King’s Tavern survived British occupation during the Revolutionary War, and offered drinks and mail service in Natchez’ rough and tumble early days. Now, King’s Tavern is a restaurant that serves flat breads and pot pies straight from its brick fire oven, in a fun, rustic environment.
J. Huston Tavern was founded in Arrow Rock in 1834. The restaurant is the oldest restaurant west of the Mississippi and has offered guests delicious meals for more than 150 years.
Established in Virginia City in 1863, the Bale of Hay Saloon is a real old time saloon. The doors may not swing like a set from an old John Wayne movie, but this bar is still like taking a step back in the past. In fact, Bale of Hay is reportedly haunted, so there may still be a person from the past there. In addition to a range of old-fashioned cocktails, the saloon offers ghost tours so you can meet the ghostie yourself.
Omaha’s Florence Mill was founded in 1843. The historic mill has evolved with the times and now serves as a museum and picturesque venue.
Visiting the oldest business in Nevada means a trip the Genoa Bar, a destination straight out of the old west. The “thirst parlor” embraces its history, featuring historical artifacts, and a tomato stain on the ceiling more than a few decades old. Presidents, actors, and musicans have visited Genoa over the years.
Tuttle’s Red Barn has seen 11 generations of Tuttles. Founded in Dover, New Hampshire in 1632, the farm has impressively weathered not only weather but economic and political changes. The farm’s 134 acres primarily farm sweet corn, but also sells, in addition to its own produce, gifts, gourmet foods, and other items.
In 1720, the Barnsboro Inn was founded, the only inn for 8 miles. The tiny building was enlarged over time, with each owner adding onto the establishment. Today, the Inn is primarily a restaurant. and serves a variety of American style food and a to-die for Lobster Bisque.
In 1835, El Farol was founded in Sante Fe, New Mexico. It has stood the trials of time, and today you can swing by the compact bar and enjoy their array of Spanish tapas, world class margaritas, and live entertainment.
Saunderskill Farm is a farm, market, and restaurant. 12 generations of farmers have worked the soil at this historic farm; You don’t have to look far today to see a family member involved in operation. Saunderskill is truly a a family affair.
The Tavern In Old Salem is a charming 18th-century tavern that serves farm to table food. To honor the establishment’s history, the workers dress in Morovian costumes while they serve Bratwurst, bier cheese, and other cultural dishes.
Clement A. Lounsberry founded the Bismark Tribune. The paper has stood the tests of time, writing about good news and bad. The distinguished paper has won many awards, including a Pulitzer for its coverage of the Dust Bowl. Today, the paper serves 82,000 readers weekly.
Jonas Seamen opened his restaurant in 1803, hanging a golden lamb outside. The Golden Lamb has served 12 US presidents. Today, guests are still treated to delicious meals, with options including lamb and savory Ohio Fried Chicken. After enjoying a lovely dinner you can check out their on sight museum.
BC Clark isn’t just Oklahoma’s oldest jeweler, it’s Oklahoma’s oldest running business- predating statehood. The jewelry store was founded in 1892 in Indian territory, when B.C. Clark opened shop in the corner of a five and dime store. Today the store is a chain with three locations and still family owned.
Van Dusen Beverages has been bottling drinks since before Coca Cola was a thing. Today, they primarily bottle Pepsi products, and provide jobs in Astoria, Oregon.
The Rowland Company was founded in 1732 by Benjamin Rowland. The company manufactured tools like shovels and wagon equipment. Over the past 200 years, the company has undergone major transitions. Today the company manufactures industrial power transmission products- a long way from wagon springs!
White Horse is “America’s Oldest Tavern” and the oldest Rhode Island business still in operation. In its early days the Rhode Island General Assembly met in the iconic red building. The tavern survived numerous ownership changes (including one pirate owner) and near-demolition, to serve the scrumptious food it serves today.
McCrady’s was founded in Charleston by vinter and Revolutionary War Veteran Edward McCrady and started as a simple tavern. Like many taverns of the day, it offered meals and lodging. The simple tavern didn’t stay simple for long. It would go on the host the elite of Charleston society and George Washington himself. Today, the venue has been restored to its original glory including the charming mahogany paneling and serves some of the finest food on east coast.
Look’s Market is the oldest, still running businesses in South Dakota. Look’s earned their reputation as a meat counter that sold quality cuts of meats. Today, they still have the same premium meats but also sell baked goods, cheeses, beers, and other delicacies, in addition to being the site of a small restaurant.
White’s Marbleworks is the only marble company to make the list. Founded in 1870, the company is family owned and specializes in granite, quartz, and, of course, marble counter tops. All of their product is manufactured locally in Sweetwater, Tennessee where they’ve been located for more than a century.
The oldest company in Texas is Imperial Sugar, a major sugar producer in the US. Not only does Sugar Land, Texas take its name from its oldest company, but the city’s logo contains the crown from the company’s logo.
The Deseret News is Utah’s oldest, continuously running paper. The printing press traveled to Salt Lake by covered wagon and was housed in the same adobe building where settlers’ minted coin. In the early days of the Southwest, the paper faced great shortages in production. This includes frequent paper shortages that once had the prestigious paper printed on gray paper made from old cloth and paper scraps. Today the paper has the largest Sunday circulation is Utah and is read by many in the state.
The Fort Ticonderoga Ferry once facilitated necessary trade between Shoreham, Vermont and Ticonderoga, New York. While there may be other means to trade nowadays, the ferry still makes the 7.5 minute trip in all but the most severe weather. For the reasonable price of a dollar, you yourself can ride the same path, from the same company that once served notable figures such as Nathaniel Hawthorne.
Shirley Plantation is the oldest company in Virginia and in the United States. The plantation was founded in 1613, 163 years before the United States was a country. Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s parents were marriedat the plantation. The Plantation is now a National Historic Landmark, with tours open to the public.
Laird Norton Co is the oldest surviving company in Washington and today is an umbrella for multiple brands. Fun fact? Laird Norton Co built the first skyscraper in Seattle following the Depression– symbolic evidence of their impact on Washington and place in history.
The Greenbrier is a luxury resort deep in the West Virginia mountains. Over 25 presidents have stayed at the storied resort, no doubt some taking in the “waters” it was known for. Frequently, the resort played a large part in history, from serving as the site of an emergency bunker during the Cold War to housing Axis powers diplomats during WW II. Today, it still operates as a luxury resort with all the finery one could ask for, including a world class golf course.
Minhas Craft Brewery is the oldest business in Wisconsin– and the second oldest brewery in the United States. The establishment brews over 200 beers and liquors. Minhas doesn’t just have history, they display it! The brewery is home to a large brewery museum. The brewery has survived wars, a fire, and prohibition to serve fine alcohol today.
Stepping into Miners and Stockmen’s Steakhouse is a bit like stepping back in time to the wild west. Hartville, Wyoming may be tiny now, but in the 1800’s it was a booming mining town. The steakhouse served miners, town folk, and outlaws alike. It once even served as a hideout for bank robbers! It’s worth checking out for the trip through time alone, but they also serve a great steak.
we dug through numerous records, accounts, and local newspapers to uncover the oldest business still running in each state. With that being said, centuries of information can be conflicting, have holes, and may not always represent the full picture. Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org if you know of a prior existing business or any inaccuracies.
We would like to commend all of the companies featured in this article. Running a company is hard and they have survived calamities, economic collapses, world wars, and changing times. In the face of so much adversity, it is remarkable they have survived to present day, with many thriving.
How have they survived? Quality products, good service, keen wits, and a bit of luck.
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