Old businesses in downtown Chico are celebrated

CHICO – Some of the oldest businesses in downtown Chico were honored Monday at the Parkside Tap House’s Downtown Chico Legacy Business Reception.

Attendees will enjoy drinks and food at Parkside Tap House as Chico City Councilman Sean Morgan emcees the event with a motivational speech honoring several businesses. He named the businesses based on their longevity and told a story or funny story from each business representative as they came to receive a certificate of recognition for their business.

“We fought for families, futures and parking,” Morgan said. “The new business is 43 years old. We’ve been through disasters, blessings and pandemics.

Opened in 1871, Collier’s Hardware is the oldest business in Chico. The newest is the Brooklyn Bridge Bagel Works, which opened in 1979.

“Carol started the 5th Street clothing company because no one would hire him,” Morgan joked. The shop was opened in 1978.

“Campus Bikes is the fabric of our community,” Morgan said. Campus Bicycles opened in 1975.

Morgan said it’s a Chico tradition for couples to start school at Chico State, meet at Madison Bear Gardens and buy their wedding rings from Kirk’s Jewelry. Kirk’s Jewelry opened in 1973.

North Star Mills, which opened in 1898, is third-generation family-owned, Morgan said.

Chico State President Gayle Hutchinson was on hand to accept the award for Chico State. Chico State opened in 1887 and was originally called California State Normal School.

“Without Chico State, Chico is Red Bluff,” Morgan said.

Morgan said of his Chico Enterprise-Record newspaper, which he started in 1873, that he never missed a publication date.

“It’s an honor to be recognized as one of the oldest businesses in Chico, especially if you’re an integral part of the community alongside so many other local businesses,” said Chico Enterprise-Record Editor Mike Wolcott. It’s been 169 years since we published our first issue, and we look forward to many more to come as Chico continues to grow and flourish.

Morgan said he was chosen to come because he wasn’t afraid to “burn himself out” in front of the people watching.

“I’ll step over the line, but I haven’t been thrown yet!” Morgan said.

In addition to serving as a Chico City Council member and former mayor, he served as a council representative for the Downtown Chico Business Association and worked as a paper boy for the Chico Enterprise-Record at the age of 9.

“Businesses are extremely important to the community,” Morgan said. “Without them, there is no society.”

Morgan said many years ago, businesses like “a butcher, a baker and a candle maker” were closer together and easier to trade.

“We formed a community with Collier Hardware and some of the older ones,” Morgan said. “This is a safe place to grow a business and raise a family.”

Jenny Blevins writes a business column once a week. Submit any comments for future columns or send an email to jblevins@chicoer.com

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