Among the 22 honorees at the 2019 Celebrate Marion Gala, in the category of Products, Marion’s small businesses were recognized. Special attention was drawn to the 11 businesses which have been in continuous operation in Marion County for 100 years or more.
Known as Century Businesses, the list includes attorneys, banks, funeral homes, and service and civic businesses that were started in Marion County. The list, culled from records at the Ohio Secretary of State’s office and the Marion Area Chamber of Commerce, includes: Bartram & Bartram attorneys, Fahey Banking Company, Snyder Funeral Homes, Baldauf Construction, Marion Masonic Temple Co., the Marion Area Chamber of Commerce, Bender Plumbing & Heating, Holbrook & Manter CPAs, McDaniel Automotive, and the law firm of Williamson & Williamson.
“We defined small businesses as those with fewer than 50 employees and focused on those that have been in the Marion area through multiple generations,” said Dean Jacob, President and CEO of Marion Community Foundation and one of the Gala organizers. “It is very interesting to see what businesses that we have today who helped to shape the community, some since nearly its inception.”
The earliest of the local businesses is the law firm of Bartram & Bartram, which dates to 1847. It was founded by John Bartram and his son, Samuel, and continues to its current principal, his great, great, grandson, John C. Bartram, a fifth generation attorney in his family’s firm who, himself, has been practicing law for 46 years. The Bartram firm was a fixture in downtown Marion since John H. Bartram occupied the offices, beginning in the 1900s. Bartram & Bartram is now located at 355 E. Center St.
It is not surprising that a bank would be among the city’s earliest businesses. In Marion’s case, the Fahey Banking Company was started by Irish immigrant Timothy Fahey in 1865 – the year the Civil War ended — and is run by his descendants to this day. Originally known as The Bank of Ireland, it was located in the rear of Fahey General Store at 127 North Main Street. The bank’s main office continues at the same location.
The Snyder Funeral Homes makes the Century List twice, in 1866 for the Denzer-Farison-Hottinger Chapel and 1910 for the Gunder/Hall Chapel. The business serves several cities in Central Ohio and has been operated by four generations of the family. The current director, Chad Snyder, is the great-grandson of founder Ora Snyder. Including partnerships and mergers with other local chapels, Snyder Funeral Homes have served the Marion area for 150+ years.
Baldauf Construction has been making Marion since 1882. Founded as J.B. & Sons Construction by John Baldauf, the company got its start building for the farming community. Four generations later, it is managed by great-grandson Jeff Baldauf. In addition to barns and farm structures, the company is now a full-service contractor with commercial and industrial projects.
While religious congregations dominate the early records at the State offices, the Marion Masonic Temple is listed as a company, beginning in 1900, when the four-story building on West Church Street was purchased. The fraternal order, Free and Accepted Masons, formed first, in 1840 with nine members. The Marion Masonic Temple Co. provides a centralized home for various Masonic groups.
Since 1915, the Marion Area Chamber of Commerce has served the area, addressing local businesses’ needs for improving economic prosperity and quality of life. The leadership torch, long held by the legendary Pam Hall, has recently been passed to Matt Carbary. He, a staff of three, and a 22-member board of directors, provide educational opportunities, marketing support, and connections necessary to further the success of well over 600 member businesses and the Marion community.
Bender Plumbing and Heating was founded by Fred C. Bender in 1917 on West Center Street. Following World War II, Robert Haviland worked for the company, before purchasing it in 1963 as a co-owner. The business has been in the Haviland family ever since. Haviland’s son, Bob, owns the firm today and has worked there for 48 years. His sons, Ben and Nick, are carrying the business into the next generation. This century-old Marion business provides state-licensed residential and commercial plumbing, and residential HVAC systems.
McDaniel Automotive has been selling cars since the height of the automotive revolution. It began when Marion L. McDaniel Sr., along with Bert and Ernest Bumgarner, opened the Marion Overland Company in a livery barn on West Center Street and, three weeks later, sold their first new car. By 2016, the McDaniel family celebrated the dealership’s 100th anniversary with their Mt. Vernon Avenue lots brimming with Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Cadillac, and Toyota models, both new and pre-owned. Current leadership rests with President Michael McDaniel his son, Scott, who describe the advancements they’ve seen in the car industry as “exponential.”
Two companies just made the Century list and are this year celebrating 100 years in Marion — Holbrook & Manter CPAs and the law firm of Williamson & Williamson.
Holbrook & Manter marked its 100th birthday with an updated brand look. The firm employs 40 and specializes in certified public accounting, including auditing, business and risk advisory services, financial and wealth planning, and payroll and tax preparation. Holbrook & Manter is led by a management team of six principals, including President Brad Ridge, as well as Fred Manter, who remains a viable and important part of the firm.
The Williamson & Williamson law firm was started in 1919 by the current principal’s grandfather, JD Williamson. In 1943, JD’s son, Don, joined the firm, officially making it Williamson & Williamson. When grandson David graduated from the University of Florida Law School in 1973, he joined the family law practice and continues to this day, making it to the century mark.
“We appreciate the Chamber staff and that of the Secretary of State for helping to compile this list and apologize for any we might have missed,” said Jacob.
Note: After this article was written, another Century Business was identified — The Marion Star, begun in 1877 as The Daily Pebble. Read more HERE.