The birthplace of business legends.

Some of our business legends are indeed household names; others may not be known beyond the borders of a city, but loved just as much. We’re proud to showcase just a few of the many movers and shakers that call Washington home, true American success stories and yes, legends in the business world. If we were to include all of our legendary businesses in these pages, the Internet would literally seize up due to the lack of remaining bandwidth.

Sure, we’re name-dropping a bit here, but we’re very proud of the many companies in Washington State who have become well known and highly regarded around the world. If you’ve had the pleasure to patronize any of these businesses or have purchased their products or services, then you know that they deserve the honor of being called a Washington State Business Legend.

Amazon.com

Nearly two-thirds of Americans have ordered from this online retailing giant and its operations cover the globe, offering consumers everything from clothing and appliances to electronics and oh yes, books.

The Boeing Company

One of the largest aerospace companies in the world, Boeing has been a Washington State legend since 1916, turning out more than 14,000 commercial and military aircraft as well as countless rockets and space exploration vehicles.

Brown & Haley *

Rarely does a confectionery company hit on an idea that not only becomes a treasured part of a community’s culture, but becomes a worldwide phenomenon, exported to 35 countries. Not to mention that it’s something they’ve been doing for the last century.

Costco

With its seemingly simple strategy for keeping costs low and passing the savings onto members, Costco has changed the face of retailing around the world with its 590+ stores in eight countries.

Filson *

With U.S. made clothing as rugged as the pioneer spirit that created them more than a century ago, Filson continues to deliver on its promise of top quality clothing and accessories for those who demand the very best.

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

A desire to create a lasting memorial to a beloved brother creates one of the most highly respected and renowned medical research centers in the world, The Hutch.

Holland America

Did you ever hear the sailor’s yarn about a 150-year-old cruise line that found its way to Washington State by way of Alaska? Holland America’s rich maritime history is a perfect fit for a state that has been going to and living off the sea for generations.

Microsoft

A juggernaut in the computing industry, Microsoft products can be found on 95% of all personal computers. But if it weren’t for Trac-O-Data, you may have never heard of Windows or Word.

Paccar *

You may not know the name, but you have undoubtedly passed their products on the highways and byways of the world, including Kenworth, Peterbilt, DAF and Leyland medium- and heavy-duty trucks.

Starbucks

Sometimes a good idea becomes a great one through a chance encounter. Once content to sell coffee beans out of a few stores in the Northwest, Starbucks went on to create an international culture of coffee because of one man’s trip to Milan, Italy.

Tommy Bahama

What could one of the premier tropical brands possibly have to do with Washington State? Find out why Tommy holds a special place in “his” heart for Seattle.

UPS

Those all too familiar brown vans have a long history that dates back to 1907. But did you know this legendary logistics company got its start under a Seattle sidewalk?

Weyerhaeuser *

From its humble beginnings as a sawmill and lumber operation, Weyerhaeuser has led the way in creating timber as a crop over the last 100 years, including the idea of tree farms and sustainable forestry.

* Members of the Century Club.

 

With our legendary culture of innovation and highly competitive spirit, it’s not hard to see why so many Washington companies are known throughout the country. Business is alive and well here in the Pacific Northwest and the state is a leader in creating companies that are not only well known, but which have been fixtures of the economy for decades, if not generations.

Alaska Airlines

The seventh-largest U.S. carrier, Alaska Airlines has carved out a successful niche in one of the most competitive industries on earth. They’ve done it through superior customer service, sensible expansion and an independent spirit that many Washington companies exhibit.

Eddie Bauer

A name synonymous with the great outdoors, the company that gave us the down parka has gone on to become a household name and highly valued brand, not only in outdoor gear and clothing, but home decor and other lifestyle categories.

Liberty Orchards

The creators of Aplets, Cotlets and other wonderful confections that have been popular since 1918.

Nordstrom *

From a single shoe store in Seattle, a company redefines the very meaning of superior customer service, even allowing customers to return products they don’t even sell.

Oberto Sausage Company

The makers of jerky, pepperoni and sausage hit upon their secret to success early on: hard work, bold risk taking and a can-do attitude that has seen the company through good times and bad.

REI

The nation’s largest retailing co-op, REI got its start because one mountain climber couldn’t find a high quality ice axe at an affordable price, leading to a dynasty in outdoor gear and apparel.

Roman Meal Company *

For more than a century now, Roman Meal has been turning out bread products, not only from their factory in Tacoma, Washington, but 90 contract bakeries across the country and the world. Though the company has grown, it is still family owned and operated.

Tim’s Cascade Snacks

Available in more than a dozen states and many parts of Asia, Tim’s Cascade Style Potato Chips have carved out a niche in the highly competitive snack foods space through a laser focus on freshness, flavor and crunch.

Zillow.com

A better way to search for your dream home. Whether you’re buying or renting, Zillow makes shopping for a new place a snap, thanks to its 110 million+ listings and add-value services.

* Members of the Century Club

 

Sure, you may have never heard of these companies (yet), but if you end up doing business in and with Washington State, you’ll want to know more about them as they have become beloved institutions with residents and visitors alike.

Bartell Drugs *

Bartell Drugs has been part of the Washington business community since 1890 when George H. Bartell bought his first pharmacy after being working there for only two weeks. Today, the company has 58 stores in three counties and is a proud member of the Century Club.

Ben Bridge Jewelers *

With 70 stores in 12 states, Ben Bridge Jewelers has grown to become the 12th largest jewelry retailer in the country and one of the most trusted and respected names in the jewelry business.

Darigold *

A farmer-owned and operated cooperative, Darigold has been a favorite source for dairy products for almost a hundred years and has expanded its reach to five states and counting.

Hanson Bros. Moving & Storage *

A lot of things have changed since 1890 when the moving and storage company first opened its doors for business in Washington State. But the company still gives each of its trucks names, just as it did its horses back at the turn of the 19th century.

Ivar’s

Want to know what the Creature From the Black Lagoon, a piano and Dances and Wolves have to do with clams? Find out the story behind one of the state’s most beloved seafood restaurants and its founder, Ivar Haglund.

McLendon Hardware

A classic David and Goliath story, as a local hardware company battles the retailing giants for supremacy. Its weapons of choice: superior customer service and unparalleled knowledge of the more than 75,000 items they stock.

Pacific Lamp & Supply Company *

If it glows, they carry it. For more than a century, Pacific Lamp & Supply has been lighting the way in the Pacific Northwest. It is the oldest specialty lighting company in the United States.

Three Girls Bakery *

Venture to the Pike Place Market and you’ll find a small bakery that has just celebrated its 100th year in business, no small feat. Its loyal customers will gladly tell you that the secret to their success is their fresh pastries and “to die for” sandwiches

Uwajimaya

Overcoming internment and relocation during World War II, the Moriguchi family has created an icon of the region’s diversity as well as its love of fresh foods from all over the world, Uwajimaya.

* Members of the Century Club

 

Some legends aren’t as well known in this world. They are still perking below the surface, reinventing the world around them without a lot of fanfare. Their work is their own reward, and perhaps somewhere down the road, they will be the next Amazon, Boeing or Starbucks. But in our eyes they are already giants, clearly demonstrating the entrepreneurial spirit and culture of innovation Washington is known for.

BURN Design Lab

Their innovative biomass cookstoves are designed to save lives and trees while creating manufacturing jobs in third world countries, all from their small shop in an old ski factory on Vashon Island.

Electric Mirror

The world leader in lighted mirrors and mirror TV technology, Electric Mirror has brought a new level of technological luxury to hotels, resorts and homes throughout the world with its innovative product line.

Funko

If you have a love of pop culture then you probably already know about this toy and collectibles company that ships two million units annually of bobbleheads, vinyls, plushes and more. Who knows? You may even be one of their “funatics.”

Ice Chips

Created by two grannies from Yelm, Ice Chips are quickly finding their way to national fame after legendary business growth, fueled by an appearance on ABC television’s, Shark Tank.

MOD Pizza

Four hungry boys led the Svensons to recreate the pizzeria, with custom-made gourmet pies being served up in just three minutes.

Nelson Treehouse & Supply

Pete Nelson has turned a love of treehouses into an empire, complete with a treehouse construction and supply business, several books, a retreat in the trees and a popular TV show.

Orca Beverage

Tapping the public’s nostalgia for days gone by, Mike Bourgeios turned his bottling hobby into a craft bottling plant that produces some of America’s most treasured soft drinks from the past.

SaltWorks

With more than a hundred products on the market and a fervent dedication to innovation and excellence, it’s small wonder why SaltWorks is the #1 seller of gourmet and artisan salt in the world.

A strong indicator of the strength and staying power of any state economy is the number of businesses that have reached the rarified status of being in business not decades, but centuries. Following is a list of 175 companies that have achieved this legendary status, weathering countless changes in markets and historic swings in the economy, demonstrating that they are true Business Legends. If we missed a business, please let us know in an email

1800s

1855Laird Norton Co., Seattle – private equity & venture capital
1859 Providence Health & Services, Renton – healthcare
1864
Port Blakely Cos., Seattle – land & resource management
1868Bonney-Watson Co., Sea-Tac – funeral & crematory services
1869Baker Boyer Bank, Walla Walla – financial services
1875 – Lane Powell PC, Seattle – legal services
1882
 – MultiCare Health System – healthcare
1883Jensen Distribution Services, Spokane – wholesale hardware distributor
1883Little Skookum Shellfish Growers, Shelton – seafood purveyor
1884Witherspoon Kelley, Spokane – legal services
1885Jack’s Country Store, Ocean Park – general mercantile
1886Merrill & Ring, Seattle – timber management
1887Owens Meats, Cle Elum – butcher
1888Burkhart Dental Supply, Tacoma – dental equipment & supplies
1889Avista Corporation, Spokane –  utility
1889Clise Properties, Inc., Seattle – property management
1889Holaday-Parks Fabricators, Tukwila – mechanical contractors
1889Seattle Boiler Works, Seattle – metal fabricators
1889Seattle-Tacoma Box, Kent – packaging
1889 – The Brick Saloon, Roslyn – food & beverage
1890Banner Bank, Walla Walla – financial services
1890Hansen Bros. Moving & Storage, Seattle – moving & storage
1890Haskell Corp., Bellingham – construction & fabrication
1890 Merchant’s Café, Seattle – food & beverage
1890Merrill Gardens, Seattle – senior living communities
1890Stanwood Hotel, Stanwood – accommodations & eatery
1890Taylor Shellfish Farms, Shelton – seafood purveyor
1891Minnick-Hayner, Walla Walla – legal services
1891 – Franciscan Health Systems, Tacoma – healthcare
1891 – Washington Shoe Company, Kent – footwear manufacturer
1892The H.O. Seiffert, Co., Everett – real estate investment
1893Newman Burrows, Tukwila – commercial publishing
1894 – Gordon Thomas Honeywell, Tacoma – legal services
1894 Continental Escrow Company, Seattle – escrow services
1894
 – Knutzen Farm, Burlington – potatoes
1895 – Aldrich’s Market, Port Townsend – grocery store
1896Fitterer’s, Inc., Ellensburg – furniture store
1896Northwest Laboratories of Seattle, Inc., Seattle – tents
1896Rainier Industries, Tukwila – displays, shade & shelter
1896The Seattle Times Co., Seattle – newspaper
1896Shelburne Hotel, Long Beach – accommodations
1897C.C. Filson, Co., Seattle – apparel
1897Captain’s Nautical Supplies, Seattle – nautical outfitter
1897 Horizon Distribution, Yakima – farm & industrial supply
1897 
Morse Steel, Bellingham – steel fabrication
1898
Bargreen Coffee Co., Inc., Everett – coffee roastery
1898Dunbar Jewelers, Inc., Yakima – jewelry
1898Joe’s Place, Bucoda – food & beverage
1898Mutual of Enumclaw Insurance Co., Enumclaw – insurance products
1898Olympia Oyster Co., Shelton – seafood wholesaler
1898Stanwood-Camano News, Inc., Stanwood – newspaper
1899 Anderson & Middleton Corp., Tumwater – timber & wood products
1899
John Peth & Sons, Bow – shipping & freight
1899Ye Olde Curiosity Shop, Seattle – tourism attraction

1900s

1900Merlino Foods, Seattle – food products
1900Ewing & Clark, Seattle – real estate
1900Hallidie Machinery Company, Inc., Enumclaw –  metal industry machinery
1900Mutual Materials, Bellevue – masonry & landscape products
1900PSF Industries, Seattle – metal fabricators
1900Ritzville Drug Co., Ritzville – pharmacy
1900TW Carrol & Co., Tukwila – luggage & travel accessories
1900Weyerhaeuser, Seattle – land management
1901Campbell’s Resort, Lake Chelan – recreation & tourism
1901Nordstrom, Seattle – department store
1901Star Rentals, Seattle – equipment rental
1901 – The McGregor Co., Colfax – farm products & consulting
1902
Black Diamond Bakery, Black Diamond – baked goods
1902State Bank Northwest, Spokane Valley – financial services
1902Turner & Pease, Seattle – wholesale dairy products distribution
1902Washington Trust Bank, Spokane – financial services
1903Arlington Hardware & Lumber, Inc., Arlington – building supplies
1903 Carman Manufacturing, Co., Tacoma – furniture
1903
Gray Lumber Co., Tacoma – construction products
1903Helliesen Lumber & Supply, Yakima – building supplies
1903 – Lucks Food Decorating Company, Tacoma – edible food decorations
1903Keyes Packaging Corp., Wenatchee – molded fiber packaging
1903Security State Bank, Centralia – financial services
1903The Napoleon Co., Bellevue – food manufacturing
1904Karr Tuttle Campbell, Seattle – law firm
1904N.A. Degerstrom, Inc., Seattle – general contractor
1904Seattle Railcar Company (Nucor Steel), Seattle – steel products
1904The Bartell Drug Co., Seattle – retail pharmacy
1905Automatic Wilbert Vault Co., Inc., Tacoma – burial vaults & urns
1905 – Modern Electric Water Co., Spokane Valley – utility
1905
Paccar, Inc., Bellevue – commercial vehicles
1905 – Petersen Brothers Inc., Sumner – contracting & equipment rentals/sales
1905The Wenatchee World, Wenatchee – newspaper
1906Almira Farmers Warehouse, Co., Almira – grain wholesaling
1906
 – Hedlin’s Farm, Mt. Vernon – fresh fruit & produce
1906Mills Bros. Menswear, Wenatchee – men’s clothing
1906Olympia Federal Savings & Loan, Olympia – financial services
1907Ballard Sheet Metal Works, Inc., Seattle – metal fabrication
1907Bekins Moving & Storage Co., Mountlake Terrace – moving & storage
1907 Blue Star Growers, Cashmere – warehousing & storage
1907
Dunn Lumber, Seattle – building supplies
1907Markey Machinery Co. Inc., Seattle – custom deck machinery & equipment
1907Salmon Bay Sand and Gravel Co., Seattle – sand & gravel
1908Bank of Fairfield, Fairfield – financial services
1908Commercial Creamery Co., Spokane – specialty food ingredients
1908K&H Printers-Lithographers, Inc., Everett – printing services
1908Kitsap Bank, Kitsap County – financial services
1908 Lamont Bank of St. John, St. John – financial services
1908 
Spokane Seed Co., Spokane – dried peas & lentils
1908 
Whidbey Telephone Co., Langley – telecommunications
1908
 – Yakima Bindery & Printing, Yakima – office supplies & printing
1909
Daily Ellensburg Record, Inc., Ellensburg – newspaper
1909Johnson Cox Co., Inc., Tacoma – commercial printing
1909 Rex Land Co., Redmond – home construction services
1909
Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce, Seattle – financial newspaper
1909Wilcox Family Farms, Roy – eggs
1910Albert Jensen & Son, Inc., Friday Harbor – shipyard
1910 City Lumber & Coal Yard, Dayton – landscaping
1910
Farmers New World Life Insurance, Mercer Island – insurance
1910Gebbers Farm, Inc., Brewster – fruit grower & processor
1910 Inland Empire Paper Co., Spokane – paper products
1910 
JJ Benner Oyster Co., Federal Way – shellfish producer
1910 
Kong Yick Investment, Co., Seattle – investment services
1910
North Star Glove Co., Tacoma – work gloves
1910Ocean Beauty Seafoods, Seattle – seafood wholesaler
1910 – RJ Martin Mortgage, Spokane – mortgage services
1910
Washington Fruit & Produce Co., Yakima – produce grower & distributor
1911 LG Isaacson Co., Aberdeen – mill & industrial supplies
1911
Kelleher Motor Co., Ellensburg – vehicle dealer
1911Kroll Map Company, Seattle – maps & mapmaking
1911 Lornty Investment Co., Mercer Island – investment services
1911 
Pocock Racing Shells, Everett – racing boats
1911Redmond State Bank – financial services
1911R.H. Brown, Co., Seattle –   material handling & equipment supplier
1911 Riblet Tramway, Co., Spokane – aerial tramways & chairlifts
1912
Ben Bridge Jewelers, Seattle – jewelry
1912Blackstock Lumber Co., Inc., Seattle – building supplies
1912 Cowles Company, Spokane – newsprint, media & real estate
1912
Fox’s Gem Shop, Seattle – jewelry
1912 Gebbers Farms, Brewster – fresh fruit
1912
 – Kristoferson Farm, Camano Island – agriculture & food manufacturer
1912 Lummi Island Land Co., Lummi Island – real estate
1912
National Frozen Foods Corp., Seattle – frozen foods producer
1912Northern Fish Company, Tacoma – seafood supplier
1912Pacific Lamp & Supply Co., Seattle – lighting products & supplies
1912 Pacific Mutual Door, Olympia –  door & window supplier
1912
Perkins, Coie, Seattle – law firm
1912 – Rainier Connect, Tacoma – telecommunications & media
1912 – Roman Meal Company, Tacoma – wholesale bakery
1912 – Simpson Door Company, McCleary – door manufacturer
1912Three Girls Bakery, Seattle – retail bakery
1913Alaskan Copper Companies, Inc., Kent – metal products & processing
1913Alderbrook Resort & Spa, Union – hospitality & tourism
1913 – Buffelen Woodworking,  Tacoma – door manufacturer
1913 – Hoffman Music Co., Spokane – retail music store & instruments
1913 Home Electric, Seattle – wiring services
1913
 – Kern Funeral Home, Mount Vernon – funeral services
1913Marine Supply and Hardware, Anacortes – marine supplier
1913Moss Adams, Seattle – public accounting firm
1913 – Murray Pacific Corp., Tacoma – timber & land management
1913
Six Robblees, Inc., Tukwila – truck accessories
1914Apple King LLC, Yakima – fruit producer
1914 – Brown & Brown, Seattle – insurance
1914
Brown & Haley, Tacoma – candy manufacturing
1914Peter Pan Seafoods – seafood producer
1915Central Washington Health Services, Wenatchee – healthcare
1915
 – Farmer’s State Bank, Winthrop – financial services
1915 – National Sign Corporation, Seattle – signage
1915 – Western Materials, Inc., Yakima – building materials
1916
 – The Boeing Company, Seattle – aircraft & space products
1916Columbia & Okanogan Nursery, Wenatchee – nursery
1916 
Diehl Ford, Bellingham – vehicle sales
1916 
Skinner Corp., Seattle – investment holding company
1917
 – Globe Machine, Tacoma – general manufacturing
1917
 – Seattle Lighting, Seattle – lighting systems
1917Tsue Chong Company, Seattle – Chinese food products
1917 – Pacific Iron & Metal – scrap metals
1918Darigold, Seattle – dairy products
1918The Lighthouse for the Blind, Inc., Seattle – workforce training
1918The Doty Group, Tacoma – certified public accountant

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