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The Oldest Family Businesses In America


Family Business United are always looking for ways to celebrate the family business sector and to recognise those businesses that continue to flourish generations after they were founded. To that end, detailed below are some of the oldest family businesses remaining in operation across the USA today.


We are constantly looking to add to the list so if you feel that a specific family business deserves to be added please do not hesitate to contact us and we will add additional family businesses accordingly.


The Oldest Family Firms In The USA


1623 - Avedis Zildjan Company (moved to USA in 1929)

The Zildjian Company has been synonymous with setting the standard for the development and manufacture of high performance musical instruments since 1623. As the world's leading maker of cymbals, drumsticks, and percussion mallets, Zildjian products are sold across the globe, under the Zildjian, Vic Firth, and Balter brands, and are the standard to which all other cymbals, drumsticks and mallets are measured.


From the beginner to the world’s greatest rock stars, jazz performers and concert percussionists, amateurs and pros alike choose Zildjian, Vic Firth, and Balter products to allow them to experience and share the joy of music.


Headquartered in Norwell, Massachusetts with offices in Newport, ME, Los Angeles, CA, London, UK, and Singapore, Zildjian products are sold globally through distributors and via a network of dealers. All Zildjian instruments are made in the USA at their cymbal factory in Norwell, MA and drumstick/mallet factory in Newport, ME.

Visit their website here


1873 - Gilbane Founded by William Gilbane

One of the largest privately held and family-owned construction and real estate development firms in the industry, Gilbane’s entities provide construction and facilities management, real estate development, property management, and consulting services across the globe. They bring their core values, expertise, and client-focused team approach to deliver value and positive outcomes across communities.

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1873 - Kohler

Founded by John Michael Kohler



1886 - S.C. Johnson

Founded by Samuel Curtis Johnson Sr.

SC Johnson is a leading manufacturer of household cleaning products and products for home storage, air care, pest control and shoe care, as well as professional products. The business remains a family company, led by the Johnson family of Racine, Wisconsin. Their Chairman and CEO, Fisk Johnson, is the fifth generation of the family to lead the company.

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1888 - Belk

Founded by William Henry Belk



1888 - Young's Market

Founded by John G. Young



1897 - Gordon Food Service

Founded by Isaac van Westenburgge



1898 - Bechtel

Founded by Warren A. Bechtel

Bechtel helps customers deliver projects of purpose that create a lasting positive legacy. These projects create jobs and grow economies; improve the resiliency of the world's infrastructure; connect communities to resources and opportunity; get us closer to net zero; tackle critical environmental challenges; protect people and the planet; and accelerate progress to make the world a cleaner, greener, safer place.

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1916 - Wegmans Food Markets

Wegmans is a regional supermarket chain and is one of the largest private companies in the US. Wegmans is a values-based family company that was founded by brothers Walter and John Wegman in Rochester, New York. Today, Danny Wegman (third generation) serves as chairman, Colleen Wegman (fourth generation) is president and CEO, and Nicole Wegman (fourth generation) is president of Wegmans Brand.

Visit their website here


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