Entrepreneurship isn’t easy. Nine out of every 10 startups will fail within the first few years. There is little doubt the business world is difficult, and often cruel. Success requires more than simply a good idea; it means having moxie, a belief in innovation, a willingness to adapt and the ability to do what’s necessary to survive.
Reaching a milestone event, such as celebrating 50 years in operation, signifies you’ve accomplished something few others have.
Hitting 75, 100 or even 150 years? That’s even more impressive.
That’s why Smart Business launched the Business Longevity List.
So why 50 years as the ticket to entry? Simple. Fifty years ago, we lived in a completely different world.
Sure, technological advancements through 1966 made our lives easier. But man had not yet landed on the moon, the personal computer and cellular phones were still more than a decade away, and mobile technology was a mere twinkle in the eyes of the innovators who were born in the late 1950s and early ’60s.
Reaching that 50-year mark is no small feat. In 1966, three of the five largest companies were automakers — GM, Ford and Chrysler — and four of the top 10 were oil companies — Exxon Mobil, Mobil, Texaco and Gulf Oil. The only “technology” company that cracked the top 10 in 1966 was IBM, at No. 11.
Today, however, multinational holding companies such as Berkshire Hathaway, and Koch Industries, banks like JP Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo, and telecommunications firms like AT&T and Verizon dominate the landscape with such tech firms as Apple, Google, Microsoft and Facebook.
Our inaugural list of Business Longevity honorees represents a wide spectrum of industries and sizes. These organizations have been doing business from 53 years to 176 years, and counting — a true testament to their ability to read and adapt to the marketplace.
The 25 honorees demonstrate the power of innovation and perseverance, as well as an innate ability to understand their respective customers and evolve to meet their needs. And, as you learn about them, we hope you’ll be inspired to look at your organization and figure out how you, too, will celebrate longevity milestones of your own.
Celebrating 176 years in business
Founded: 1840 | Janet Wittich, owner and CEO
Founded by G.F. Wittich, originally Wittich’s Candy Shop was based on stick candy made on the premises. The company sold chocolates that it bought in the winter months only because there was no air conditioning to keep it from melting.
As the years passed, the business grew and moved to a larger more modern location. With the advent of air conditioning, Frances Wittich, in the mid-20th century, began making her own cream centers and caramels, hand dipping them in chocolate. Wittich’s Candy Shop continues to make most of its chocolates today.
In 1997, Fred Wittich, Frances’ son, bought a 1940s ice cream soda fountain to bring back ice cream that older customers missed from earlier years. So, although the company has evolved in many ways, much of its business is based on people experiencing a bit of the “good old days” and being a little part of the continuing history of Wittich’s Candy Shop that began four generations ago.
The shop sometimes adds new products and services, but as Fred Wittich would have put it, the company has continued with the “tried and true” that patrons love. When other companies release new and improved products, Wittich’s Candy Shop sticks with what brings people back over and over again.
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Celebrating 170 years in business
Founded: 1846 | Bob Tannous, managing partner
Tracing its roots to 1846, Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP has represented some of the most successful businesses in Ohio and across the nation.
The firm’s founder, Richard Harrison, set up shop at a small desk in the London, Ohio, Courthouse, traveling to surrounding small towns to assist clients.
The firm gained national exposure through “The Harding Papers” case in the mid-1960s, concerning the love letters of former President Warren G. Harding.
In the 1970s, Partner Sam Porter defended the Columbus Board of Education in litigation related to desegregation of the Columbus Public Schools. That same decade, the firm merged to form Porter Wright Morris & Arthur. At the time, it was the largest merger of two law firms in Ohio and one of the earliest of such mergers nationally.
Since, the firm added offices in Washington, D.C., Cincinnati, Dayton and Cleveland, Ohio, and Naples, Florida.
Other important cases include working for the state of Ohio after the collapse of Home State Savings Bank; helping the Columbus-America Discovery Group win rights to the treasure discovered aboard the sunken ship, SS Central America; and successfully defending a coal mining permit to mine under a National Natural Landmark forest.
Porter Wright’s clients expect and deserve outstanding legal service that is delivered efficiently and without unnecessary costs. The firm believes that is the essence of value, and this forms the core of its culture.
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Celebrating 161 years in business
Founded: 1855 | Randy Schoedinger, CEO | Michael S. Schoedinger, president
Schoedinger Funeral & Cremation Services has adapted to changing consumer needs for decades, from bringing funeral homes into suburban neighborhoods to be more convenient to where people live, to branch chapels and preplanned funerals.
The firm’s progressiveness has enabled it to be around to more than 100 years.
More recently, Schoedinger decided to serve pet families, and today serves more pet funerals than human funerals, cremating over 5,000 individual pets.
As baby boomers seek more of a “celebration of life,” Schoedinger also is the only funeral home to employ certified funeral celebrants who officiate these events and create transformational healing experiences. Other services include memorial video tributes and webcasting for those out of town.
As the oldest family business in Central Ohio still owned by the original family, culture plays a big part.
Many companies are layered in bureaucracy, but Schoedinger family has always had an open door policy for its 200 associates. Numerous teams within the organization also create a smaller workgroup vibe.
Schoedinger’s funerals are different — due to highly trained funeral directors who learn about the life lived, and then offer unique, highly personalized ideas to honor the life and help the family heal.
The company’s professionals must have a passion to serve, and not just work for a paycheck. The culture feeds this drive.
When the funeral is over, the staff shouldn’t look for a handshake, but a hug. This means they connected with the customer, built an emotional bond and created a healing experience. That is the Schoedinger culture.
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Celebrating 143 years in business
Founded: 1873 (Anchor Hocking LLC) | Patrick Lockwood-Taylor, CEO
EveryWare Global Inc.’s principal operating subsidiaries, Oneida Ltd. and Anchor Hocking LLC, were founded in 1848 and 1873, respectively.
The company’s dining and food preparation products bring people together when they eat, drink and socialize or spend quality family time together. Styles and preferences change over time, and both of its primary brands, Oneida in Oneida, New York, and Anchor Hocking, in Lancaster, Ohio, have met the needs of customers and consumers for decades through design and durability.
The company has stayed true to those core values, while evolving to meet the changing needs of its diverse customer base from restaurant chefs, hoteliers, industrial safety leaders, to people entertaining in their dining room and kitchens.
EveryWare also recognizes that its people are its most valuable asset. They have built this company as a community. In the same way products are designed to bring people together, EveryWare’s people come together through the ups and downs a company with over 100 years will inevitably face.
The culture of traditional company and community commitment has driven EveryWare’s longevity.
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Celebrating 135 years in business
Founded: 1881 | Brian Brooks, co-owner and president
E.E. Ward Moving & Storage Co. was founded in 1881 with a team of horses, a wagon, two helpers and a motto of “Let Ward Do It.”
Experiencing 26 U.S. presidents in office, weathering two world wars and a Great Depression, E.E. Ward has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Commerce as one of the nation’s oldest continuously operating black-run businesses.
The business, with headquarters in Grove City, was family-owned from its founding in 1881 until 2001. When Eldon Ward retired in 2001, he sold the business to his godson, Brian Brooks. This marked the first time the company was run by someone not a blood relative of founder John T. Ward.
In 2007 the company was recruited by and became an agent of North American Van Lines, which put E.E. Ward on track to grow its long distance moving business segment.
The corporate culture is based on values that were established at the inception of the company, the “3-C Mindset,” the concerns of the customer, community and company.
E.E. Ward is committed to providing the customer with the best service, and making sure their items get from point A to point B safely.
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Celebrating 130 years in business
Founded: 1886 | Edward Lamb, CEO
Mount Carmel Health System’s culture is built upon a long, strong history of service, steeped in faith. From the inception of the health system, on the site of what is now Mount Carmel West, the Sisters of the Holy Cross began to build a caring organization that went beyond providing medical services.
During the flood of 1909, for example, the hospital served as a refuge for the flooded neighborhoods. Families were housed and fed at the hospital.
Even today, outreach and community service are at the forefront of Mount Carmel’s culture and mission.
In addition, Mount Carmel recognizes that health care tomorrow will be very different from health care today. That’s why Mount Carmel is transforming its system, making improvements to support changing care.
Disease prevention, wellness, improved care coordination and integrated care capabilities are hallmarks of the system’s people-centered care. It’s a strategy that includes a $700 million capital investment to support the investment in operations.
While health care delivery has changed dramatically over its 130-year lifetime, the colleagues working at Mount Carmel Health System today, like those from the past, remain committed to putting patients first. It’s not just a culture; it’s a calling.
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Celebrating 126 years in business
Founded: 1890 | Peter G. Watson, president and CEO
Greif Inc. traces its roots to 1877 in Cleveland, Ohio, when William Greif and Albert Vanderwyst established “Vanderwyst and Greif,” a barrel manufacturer. The company was renamed Greif Brothers Co. and incorporated in 1890.
In business to manufacture barrels, boxes, kegs and all other storage receptacles, early Greif kegs were so strong that they were used to deliver heavy spikes to the westward-expanding railroads.
In 1926, the company made its public offering.
In the latter half of the 1900s, the company transitioned to the manufacturing of fibre, steel and plastic drums; corrugated containers; intermediate bulk containers; corrugated products for transit protection; multiwall shipping bags; and containerboard. The company also moved to Delaware, Ohio.
Greif’s market and product growth has resulted, in part, from various acquisitions. This includes many corrugated container businesses and containerboard mills.
In the early 2000s, Greif added an international footprint and changed the name to its current form, Greif Inc. Current business includes rigid industrial packaging and services; flexible products and services; paper packaging; and land management.
Greif’s long and successful history is the result of sound philosophy regarding the way it conducts its self and does business — a dedication to customers, employees and local communities that continues today.
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Celebrating 124 years in business
Founded: 1892 | Dr. Steve Allen, CEO
Nationwide Children’s Hospital has gone through a vast amount of change since its founding in 1892, but it has stayed true to its mission that no child will be refused necessary care and attention for lack of ability to pay.
While still a community treasure, Nationwide Children’s now has more than 1.2 million patient visits a year and a Research Institute that is one of the top 10 NIH-funded freestanding pediatric research centers.
Patients come for care annually from all 50 states and more than 40 countries.
The first phase of its strategic master site plan included a third research facility and a 12-story inpatient hospital. The second phase includes a facility dedicated to outpatient ambulatory services and a behavioral health building in response to the growing need for pediatric and adolescent mental health services.
Nationwide Children’s values say: “We do the right thing, create a safe day every day, promote health and well-being, are agile and innovative and get results.” This culture guides everything the hospital does.
The hospital’s growth and longevity can also be attributed to Central Ohio’s philanthropic culture — community leaders and thought leaders have been instrumental in helping place the hospital at the forefront of pediatric health care advances.
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Celebrating 119 years in business
Founded: 1897 | George Byers Kauffman, fifth generation Byers family member and vice president
The Byers Automotive Group understands that automotive is always evolving, so having a staff that is motived and constantly improving their skills has helped the company see continuous growth for the past 120 years.
Passionate people, great products, outstanding service and community involvement has always been a focus for the organization’s culture.
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Celebrating 118 years in business
Founded: 1898 | Robert A. Montagnese, president and CEO
Six women who saw a need for health care services in the local area founded Licking Memorial Health Systems in 1898.
They rented a residence near downtown Newark, Ohio, that was being used as a private surgery. Nearly 120 years later, that converted home and its founders are a symbol for the organization today.
LMHS evolved from a nine-room makeshift facility, to a six-story, 227-bed hospital with state-of-the-art technology. In addition, nearly 30 satellite locations with a variety of specialty practices are located in close proximity.
In an era of struggling community hospitals, LMHS has remained independent and continues to grow. The organization’s culture is a key factor in that success and is composed of three areas: employees, mission and fiscal responsibility.
LMHS provides extensive training to the management team to exemplify and teach their teams basic principles of customer service and civility practices. The health system openly promotes staff successes and provides benefits like subsidized gym memberships and free fitness classes.
By fostering the care and success of employees, LMHS’s patients also benefit.
The health system goes beyond typical health care offerings with a variety of community events and programs, including many for local youth.
Lastly, LMHS safeguards its organizational health through financial responsibility.
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Celebrating 117 years in business
Founded: 1899 | Craig Morrison, CEO
Hexion Inc., with predecessors dating from 1899, is the world’s largest producer of thermosetting resins, or thermosets, and a leading producer of adhesive and structural resins and coatings.
The company has changed dramatically over the past 100-plus years. Hexion now has more than 60 facilities that serve companies within approximately 100 countries.
Technology is a major driver. As customer needs evolve, so has Hexion’s base technologies. Many of its current product lines didn’t exist in their current form 10, 20 or 30 years ago.
More recently, Hexion has focused R&D resources on the incorporation of green chemistry principles into technology innovations to address the demand for more environmentally preferred solutions.
Considering the global nature of its business, Hexion’s culture has continued to evolve dramatically.
While underlying aspects of its culture are focused on innovation, empowerment and being customer-focused, local nuances need to be respected considering Hexion’s presence in Europe, China, North and South America.
There are also differences that emerge as new generations of associates join Hexion. For example, technology and sustainability are at the forefront today. Companies need to continually evolve, in order to attract talented associates globally. More flexible competitors will inevitably surpass those that don’t adapt.
An ability to adapt has been a primary reason that Hexion and its legacy companies have excelled for more than 100 years.
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Celebrating 106 years in business
Founded: 1910 | Jim Smith, CEO
Thanks to continual learning and adapting new technology and techniques, Elford Inc. has stayed in business for 106 years.
Long before it was known by the name, Elford practiced continuous improvement. This means it is always ready and willing to make small, incremental refinements in the way it does things. Over time, this has led to incredible progress for the company and a highly refined process with blue-ribbon results for clients.
As companies and individuals grow and move forward, they cannot continue to do the same things the same way and expect different and/or better results. However, they can change and improve, while staying true to their mission, vision and values. Elford has proven it can grow and adapt to changing times, while staying true to its identity.
As the six leaders did before him, CEO Jim Smith continues to execute Elford’s mission statement to be “more than JUST the best building contractor.” He does this by strengthening his employees’ skills and providing them with the necessary tools and educational resources to offer excellent customer service to every client, every day.
Smith recognizes satisfied customers lead to long-term business relationships, which results in 90 percent of Elford’s business being for repeat clients.
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Celebrating 95 years in business
Founded: 1921 | Mark Swepston, president
Atlas Butler Heating & Cooling has gone through countless changes. When Atlas Butler first started in 1921, it manufactured the Butler coal furnace. Over the past 95 years, it has evolved into a service-focused business for both homeowners and local businesses.
Atlas Butler provides constant and consistent technical training to ensure it provides the best service for each customer. The company also keeps up with technology on the back end, to make sure it gets to everyone with a heating and cooling issue as quickly as possible.
But one thing that has never changed is the company’s dedication to the overall Atlas Butler experience, which includes a constant review of every aspect to make adjustments as the needs of customers and employees change.
Culture also has always been an important part of Atlas Butler. As a result, a few employees have stayed with the company for 40-plus years and 24 people have worked there for over a decade.
Atlas Butler has contests, employee events, breakfasts, dinners and celebratory meetings regularly. It also recognizes employees for outstanding customer service. Since a large portion of the company is on the road and on location helping others with their problems, these events are very important.
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Founded: 1921 | Mike LaRocco, president and CEO
In 1921, Robert Pein set out to create a new kind of insurance company. He was frustrated by insurance rates that were too high and claim settlements that weren’t handled fairly. With State Automobile Mutual Insurance Co., he pledged reasonable rates with prompt and fair claim service, which remains a hallmark to the business this day.
Today, State Auto, with assets approaching $4 billion and nearly $2 billion in premium in 50 states and the District of Columbia, continues to rely on independent agents and wholesale brokers to market its products.
Throughout its nearly 100-year history, the company has developed a well-respected heritage and built a strong foundation.
It has always celebrated a culture of people who care, who deliver exceptional service, who plant themselves firmly in the communities they serve, who genuinely understand their customers and who develop trusted relationships.
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Founded: 1921 | Lisa Ingram, president and CEO
White Castle System Inc. was founded in 1921, as the first fast food hamburger chain in the world. Its founder, Billy Ingram, has been called the “granddaddy of the hamburger” and been credited with the creation of the fast food industry.
The family-owned business has been Columbus based since 1934.
White Castle has been involved with a number of innovations and milestones.
In 1933, the company introduced the first newspaper coupon, advertising five hamburgers for only 10 cents. Also, in the 1940s, to help save time and cut down on long lines, a Cincinnati Castle operator introduced the idea of adding five holes to the patty, helping it to cook faster.
In 1954, the burgers went cross-country for the first time when a Louisville, Kentucky, customer shipped White Castle hamburgers on dry ice to a relative in Los Angeles.
The company also was the first fast food hamburger chain to sell over 1 billion burgers, hitting that milestone in 1961.
More recently, with a desire to remain family owned for generations to come, White Castle successfully transitioned leadership of the business to the fourth generation and beyond.
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Celebrating 91 years in business
Founded: 1925 | Stephen Rasmussen, CEO
Nationwide has evolved from being known for providing auto insurance to rural members, to expanding into a full suite of financial services, personal and commercial lines products.
Over the years, it has introduced financial products and services that address the challenges consumers are facing. Nationwide established a bank, expanded its offerings and completed a thoughtful integration of several strategic acquisitions.
Today, Nationwide’s footprint stretches from coast to coast and its customers can interact with the company however and whenever they wish.
But while it has grown from a small local mutual into a Fortune 100 company, it has continued the tradition of being a place where people can come to make a difference for those they serve.
Nationwide’s culture and mutual structure work hand-in-hand to create an environment where it is focused on making a positive impact for members, partners and associates.
The leadership manages the business with a longer-term view. That means they can make decisions based on what’s right for the members and for the business.
Over time, this approach has enabled Nationwide to expand its products and services to meet member needs, while also leveraging the diversity of its portfolio to ensure it will be strong and stable well into the future.
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Celebrating 90 years in business
Founded: 1926 | Sandy Doyle-Ahern, president
EMH&T’s mission has always been to solve problems. It’s a continual dialogue through every level of the company, and many times that has meant adapting service areas to fit the needs of the market and technology advances.
The firm began 90 years ago as a survey firm, but quickly added civil engineering. Over the years, EMH&T added complimentary services to support the needs of a broad base of clients and projects.
As a result, it is now involved in a wide range of projects, including site development, public infrastructure, regulatory compliance and public-private partnerships.
EMH&T’s leadership looks at the company as a solution-oriented partner.
While the staff is comprised of many disciplines (civil engineers, surveyors, planners, scientists, landscape architects and more), they are all providers of solutions for its clients.
The company’s culture is entirely about understanding the needs and goals of each individual client and ensuring they are achieved. Teamwork and communication is held in high regard, and if a mistake is made, the company owns it and resolves it.
This kind of personal investment is a company hallmark and the reason why EMH&T’s client-partners turn to it over and over again.
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Celebrating 80 years in business
Founded: 1936 | Paul Greenland, president
Aetna Integrated Services began as a window cleaning company in Springfield, Ohio, called Aetna Building Maintenance. Before long, Aetna expanded to provide industrial support services that specifically targeted the needs of the automotive industry.
In the 1960s, Aetna began to focus on contract cleaning, then continued broadening its services, made green cleaning a priority and changed its name to Aetna Integrated Services to better reflect the new strategic focus.
This family-owned business has been in the Greenland family since its inception. David Greenland started the company in 1936, then his son Jay took over in the ’60s, and now Jay’s son Paul runs the company.
Today, AetnaIS continues its long-standing commitment to evolution and new technologies.
The family culture has attracted committed, loyal employees, which in turn attracts clients who develop positive, long-term partnerships with AetnaIS. The company’s employee turnover is less than one-third of the industry average, and clients have chosen to work with AetnaIS for 10, 20 and even 50-plus years.
And by keeping AetnaIS in the same family for 80 years, it has been able to retain the same company values of integrity, professionalism and teamwork, while evolving with the times.
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Founded: 1936 | John Phillips, president and CEO
The Fishel Co. was founded in 1936 by Ken Fishel, as an underground telephone conduit and manhole contractor for AT&T. As the telecom industry changed, so did Team Fishel.
To respond to major market changes, Fishel Technologies was created to offer engineering, premise wiring and cabling services for data communication networks.
The company eventually grew to a $225 million contractor with 2,250 teammates in 1999. But another major market disruption occurred when customers went bankrupt after over investing in fiber optics communication lines.
Over the last 14 years, Team Fishel has pursued a diversification strategy and built its business around three major utility markets.
The company continues to support its telecom customers but also grew its capabilities in the electric power distribution and natural gas distribution markets. To accelerate this growth, Team Fishel acquired several businesses, as well as expanded its engineering capabilities in all three markets.
Fortunately, there is currently more work funded for the next five years than in ever before in the company’s history.
As Team Fishel celebrates its 80th year in business, it still follows the same core values it was founded upon, its Fishelosophy: honesty, respect, integrity, honor, commitment and trust.
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Celebrating 69 years in business
Founded: 1947 | Mike Davis, president
Engineered Profiles LLC, formerly Crane Plastics, has found that the best way to thrive in the modern manufacturing era is through partnerships with its customers.
When their needs become more sophisticated and nuanced, the company typically seeks to innovate new technologies to manufacture more precise parts as efficiently as possible. In some cases this has resulted in pioneering new materials like wood composite polymers, while in others building complex tooling like one of the first vinyl siding profile dies in the world.
The close working relationship Engineered Profiles has with its customers has allowed the business to enjoy the freedom to collaborate toward new and exciting ideas.
While Engineered Profiles may be a plastics manufacturer, it is people focused. It strives to provide a safe manufacturing environment with an organizational structure for its employees to grow to their fullest potential.
Some of the company’s current management team began on the manufacturing floor, and they continue a more than 65-year tradition of being employee focused.
Providing opportunities for employees has resulted in Engineered Profiles’ ability to service a stable of blue chip customers at the highest level in a variety of industries.
It sounds simple but happy people make better parts.
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Celebrating 64 years in business
Founded: 1952 | Chip Hubbs, president and CEO
Memorial Health, a fiercely independent, governmental, nonprofit hospital system in Marysville finds its roots in 1945 — when the local community raised funds to match federal dollars to build a local hospital, which opened in 1952.
The visionary leadership of President and CEO Chip Hubbs, who arrived in 2004, and his management team has developed a fiscally strong health care system capable of remaining independent and expanding to meet the needs an increasing regional population.
A capital campaign is underway for the expansion and renovation of Memorial Hospital. The system will also start building a new outpatient medical center in Urbana and plans to open another medical office building this spring.
Much of Memorial’s success can be attributed to its strong business practices and ethics, plus its mission of centering care around patients. During a time of dramatic changes, Memorial has prioritized the use of current technology.
For nearly 20 years, Memorial also has practiced a philosophy of promoting wellness and the health of the community and its employees — long before this became a focus.
Memorial’s values include compassion, accountability, respect, excellence and service. Community members remain loyal because they realize they’ll receive a more personalized patient experience than at larger, more corporate health care systems.
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Celebrating 60 years in business
Founded: 1956 | Shawn Adams, president and CFO
HER Realtors is known for being an innovator in cutting-edge technology. It prides itself on staying ahead of the curve in what consumers need, including with a strong online presence because the company focuses on where consumers are and today that’s online.
Other keys to long-term success include local leadership that affords HER Realtors the ability to adapt to changing economy. The company’s top leadership is just a phone call away, which means HER Realtors is able to adjust quickly to local needs. This in turn helps agents/markets flourish.
The company also offers a full suite of tools to make agents more efficient and successful. HER Realtors emphasizes professional development, which is offered through in-house training programs and nationally recognized coaches.
In addition, HER Realtors follows a partner model, where the top agents own 60 percent of company, places a high value on the direct input from those on the front line, and gives back to community through service and charitable contributions.
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Celebrating 56 years in business
Founded: 1960 | Brian Dew, president
James F. Dew and Jack Kempton founded Mid-City Electric/Technologies with the goal of developing long-term business relationships by providing high-quality customer service and craftsmanship. That business philosophy was rooted in Dew’s belief about doing the right thing — for his customers, employees, families and the community.
The company is thankful to have so many lasting customer relationships, many of which are now friendships, grow out of living this philosophy while providing excellent customer service and quality for more than half a century.
Mid-City’s team of professionals are passionate people who take pride in performing their best work and achieving exceptional customer satisfaction. Mid-City’s focus on safety, innovation and excellence has also earned its team numerous awards.
In order to stay in business, Mid-City has had to stay current on technological changes of products. Lighting is major example of this. Lighting technology has changed substantially in recent years, making it imperative to stay current in order to meet customer needs.
When people enjoy where they work it creates an environment where people want to stay until retirement. This provides consistency for customers, and creates repeat business and customer satisfaction.
Also, if your culture supports accountability, then performance becomes a consistent deliverable the customer comes to trust and depend upon.
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Celebrating 53 years in business
Founded: 1963 | Jane Grote Abell, chairwoman of the board
From family-recipe sausage to 100 pieces of pepperoni on each large pepperoni pizza, Donatos Pizza is proud of its heritage, but has thrived as a company thanks to its constant evolution to meet customer needs.
With call-ahead pick up windows to online ordering and partnering with UberEats, Donatos continues to evolve to meet the marketplace’s call for convenience. By offering limited-time flavors like Nashville Hot Chicken and Sriracha Jack pizzas, Donatos turns new guests into returning guests.
It also offers options with a gluten-free pizza program, and is working to eliminate all artificial colors and flavors, MSG and high fructose corn syrup from its food.
For over 50 years, Donatos has operated by its mission statement: “To promote goodwill through product and service, principles and people.”
The leadership team works with every franchise partner and general manager to help them be an asset and partner in their neighborhood. Donatos associates operate as a family, even voluntarily contributing part of their paychecks to a “family fund” that other associates can use if/when they fall on hard times.
Starting with Jim Grote in 1963, the mission statement has been the true north star of Donatos, and it has been instrumental to its growth and success.
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Founded: 1963 | Leslie H. Wexner, founder, chairman and CEO
In 1963, Leslie “Les” H. Wexner founded L Brands with one store in Columbus, Ohio, — The Limited — with sales of $160,000 the first year.
In the years that followed, he expanded his business portfolio through both invention and acquisition, becoming a dominant U.S. retailer with numerous powerful brands and brand extensions.
Under Wexner’s leadership, L Brands has evolved from an apparel-based specialty retailer to an approximately $12 billion segment leader with more than 80,000 associates focused on lingerie, beauty and personal care product categories. Its world-renowned brands are household names: Victoria’s Secret, PINK, Bath & Body Works, La Senza and Henri Bendel.
The company and its employees are guided in their work and interactions with others by four core principles. These are the same beliefs that have made L Brands successful since its start in 1963. They are: the customer rules; passion leads to success; inclusion makes us stronger; and it matters how we play the game.
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