Businesses come and go and it’s quite difficult to predict how long they will last. This is especially true in 21st century, when technology advancements can make a business redundant in a very short span of time. Hundreds of businesses shut shop every year and hundreds of new ones are launched to take their place. This is an endless cycle that has continued for several centuries.
However, it’s surprising to note that some companies have managed to remain operational for hundreds of years. They come across as immortals, who defy usual market trends. To satisfy your curiosity, here’s a look at some of the oldest companies in United States that are still functional.
Shirley Plantation – Located on the banks of James River in Virginia, Shirley Plantation is the oldest active farm in the state. It is also the oldest family owned enterprise in all of North America. Shirley Plantation was founded by Sir Thomas West way back in 1613. It began commercial operations in 1648, primarily focused on tobacco cultivation. In 1970, Shirley Plantation was declared a National Historic Landmark.
Avedis Zildjian Company – Popularly referred to as Zildjian, the company is the largest manufacturer of cymbal and drumstick in the world. The company was founded by Avedis Zildjian in 1623. It had commenced operations in Constantinople (present-day Istanbul, Turkey). Generations later, the company shifted base to Quincy, Massachusetts in 1929. Their current factory is located in Norwell, Massachusetts.
Seaside Inn – An inn located in Kennebunkport, Maine, Seaside Inn commenced operations in 1667. The founder was John Gooch. It has been continuously owned by the Gooch family, who are now in their twelfth generation.
White Horse Tavern – Considered as the oldest tavern in United States, White Horse Tavern is located in Newport, Rhode Island. The original building was constructed by an English immigrant named Francis Brinley in 1652. Brinley sold the property to William Mayes in 1673, post which, it started functioning as a tavern.
John Stevens Shop – Focused on stone carving, John Stevens Shop commenced operations in 1705. The business was founded by John Stevens from England, who had immigrated to Boston in 1698. It remained a family run business for around 220 years before it was sold to John Howard Benson in 1927. The company is currently owned by Nicholas Benson.
For a company to survive for hundreds of years, it’s obvious that they need to have something unique to offer to their customers. It is necessary to keep up with the times, so that customer expectations can be met. Businesses also need to ensure that consistency is maintained in terms of product quality. Last but not least, the management needs to have the vision to predict future changes and evolve accordingly.