10 of the World’s Oldest Continuously Operating Stores

Museums in Florence

It takes a ton of work to open a business, even more to keep it going, and all of that – plus some luck from the universe – to run a successful store for a long time. We’ve all seen those storefronts in our towns and neighborhoods that seem to change owners and businesses in the blink of an eye, to open and close before we can make the decision to stop in and check it out.

That’s not the case for these 10 stores, though, that have been operating continuously for years, decades, and even centuries since first hanging out their shingle.

Check them out, and maybe stop in one day and ask them their secret to success.

#10. Temple Slug – Kansas City, MO

Photo Credit: Google Maps

It frankly does not compare to some of the others you’ll see on the list, but selling waterbeds for over 40 years (they opened in 1970) is quite the accomplishment, I’d say.

#9. St. Peter’s Stiftkseller – Salzburg, Austria

This restaurant is considered to be the longest operating in Austria, and, with some dating its inception all the way back to 803 C.E., it could be the oldest in the world. Located within the walls of St. Peter’s Abbey, the spot claims to have hosted Charlemagne, Christopher Columbus, troops during the Napoleonic Wars, and, more recently, Bill Clinton and Clint Eastwood.

#8. Santa Maria Novella Pharmacy – Florence, Italy

This is the oldest pharmacy in the world, founded by Dominican monks in 1221. They began by selling medicines, soaps, and colognes and are still situated in their original building, which features painted ceilings, a museum, and, of course, their products – the most famous of which is a smelling salt that was (according to legend) used by grave robbers to protect themselves from contracting the plague.

#7. Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan – Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan


Photo Credit: Moco-Choco

This inn was founded in 705 CE and has been run by the same family for 52 generations. Seriously. Located at the foot of the Japanese Alps and featuring hot springs, maybe it’s not such a surprise that they’ve lasted so long, right?  You can find them in the Guinness Book of World Records under the world’s oldest hotel.

#6. C.O. Bigelow – New York, NY

Though Carl’s Drug in Greencastle, PA opened a few years earlier in 1825, it has changed both location and ownership since then, making C.O. Bigelow in Greenwich Village the oldest continuously operated pharmacy in America – it has been selling drugs and soaps and such in the same spot since 1838.

It’s nowhere close to the oldest pharmacy in the world, but it has had some interesting clientele over the years. Thomas Edison allegedly nursed an injured finger there, and other famous faces like Samuel Clemens/Mark Twain, John Waters, and the New York Dolls have all passed through their doors. Gotta love New York!