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Still here for another year

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With a bit of nostalgia and the hope for some useful insight, this issue of Business World examines some of the businesses in the area that have been around for decades.

Of course, these legacy businesses are just a sampling. There are many others not mentioned in our stories that have been around just as long or longer. The company that owns this publication, World Publishing, for example, is entering its 109th year but is not profiled here.

With full knowledge we couldn’t mention them all, the idea was to find a few sustained success stories and take a quick look behind that success.

Most people who start a business would love to see that company thrive for 50, 75 or more than 100 years. But most businesses don’t. Everyone who takes their idea and tries to find success in the business world is taking a risk. A leap of faith.

There is something comforting about seeing a business that has been around since your childhood, and maybe even your parents’ and grandparents’ childhoods, still going strong.

It doesn’t happen by accident. In many cases, these businesses have survived the toughest of economic times, seen their competition grow and been forced to adapt their business models time and again.

Others thrive by sticking to much the same model they started with. A tried-and-true formula that stands the test of time. The good experiences through the years with a business build a loyalty from customers that is the cornerstone of success.

The beginning of 2014 seemed like an ideal time to take this look back. Though the recession officially ended several years ago, it is a new economic reality we live in now.

There are still feelings of great caution and even some fear in the business community. We have survived the tough times but not necessarily emerged with the same level of confidence we had before things started going downhill in 2008.

There were lessons we needed to learn.

But the entrepreneurial spirit lives on. Hundreds of new businesses, small and large, are launched each year with an eye on sustained success. We all have a stake in that success. The people those businesses hire, the money from their taxes and fees and the common spirit of giving back to the community are all keys to making this a better way to live.

So, let’s honor the long-running success stories and look forward to seeing many more in the years ahead, some of which are just getting their legs under them and some of which are still just an idea.