The oldest business (that’s still going) in every country

oldest business

The cutthroat world of business is one that shows no mercy or nostalgia, so any business that has managed to keep on thriving decade after decade is one that has managed to adapt to the changing times and stay relevant, which is no mean feat. While their competitors may have fallen by the wayside, they have endured, and have earned their place in history and – mostly – our hearts.

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The Oldest Business In The World

These are the oldest businesses in each country that are still going today (at the point of writing at least). Some of them are many hundreds of years old and going strong, like Japanese construction company Kongo Gumi, which has somehow managed to stay in business since 578. It was founded by a Korean temple builder called Shigemitsu Kongo to build Buddhist temples in Japan, where the religion had only just taken hold and there wasn’t the knowledge locally.

You might wonder how a company can stay profitable for 14 centuries building temples, but Kongo Gumi has managed it, even though the 21st century brought some financial woes and it being bought by a major conglomerate. Despite that, it remains the oldest business in the world that’s still in operation today. So, if you need a temple building in Japan, you know who to go to for centuries of experience.

Another business that dates back millennia - to 803 - is St. Peter Stifts Kulinarium, which is located in St Peter’s Abbey in Salzburg, Austria. It’s the oldest active restaurant in Europe and is believed to have frequented by the likes of Christopher Columbus and Mozart in its time. Meanwhile, Staffelter Hof Winery in Germany also dates back to the 9th century, as do the Royal Mint in the United Kingdom and the Monnaie de Paris in France.

Oldest Mints and Postal Services

It’s no surprise that these mints are the oldest businesses in their countries, as that is an industry that has been running for a very long time and is just about still needed in our increasingly-cashless society. But for how much longer? The oldest business in South America is also a mint, the Casa de Moneda de Colombia, which dates back to the 17th century, as does the Casa da Moneda do Brasil.

Another industry that dates back centuries and is still going despite technological advances in the postal service, and in Africa, many of the oldest companies are those known for delivering the mail. The Mauritius Post has been around since 1772 and half of the ten oldest companies featured in our list for Africa are also postal services, including NamPost in Namibia, which was founded in 1812.

Over in North America, the oldest business there is La Casa de Moneda de México, another mint, which was established in 1534 and went on to inspire the coins later produced in the USA, Japan and China. Up in the USA, Englishman John Tuttle set up a farm in 1632 in New Hampshire, and his Tuttle Farm remains in operation today, known as Tender Crop. Incredibly, the Tuttle family ran the farm all the way up until 2010 when it was finally sold.

These businesses have stood the test of time so far, so why not check out more of the oldest companies in the world?

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About the Author

Jacob Wolinsky
Jacob Wolinsky is the founder of ValueWalk.com, a popular value investing and hedge fund focused investment website. Jacob worked as an equity analyst first at a micro-cap focused private equity firm, followed by a stint at a smid cap focused research shop. Jacob lives with his wife and four kids in Passaic NJ. - Email: jacob(at)valuewalk.com - Twitter username: JacobWolinsky - Full Disclosure: I do not purchase any equities anymore to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest and because at times I may receive grey areas of insider information. I have a few existing holdings from years ago, but I have sold off most of the equities and now only purchase mutual funds and some ETFs. I also own a few grams of Gold and Silver