Top 5 Oldest Family Businesses

We all know that Macon has a rich history in arts, culture and music, but this TOP 5 list focuses on the longevity  of some of the longest running locally owned family businesses in the area. 

#1. Willingham Sash and Door – 1882

Located on 7th Street in Historic downtown Macon, Willingham is Macon’s premiere place for quality and detailed millwork. Willingham has a long, rich history of providing quality millwork for a wide array of projects ranging from rehabilitating private homes to courthouse renovations.  Founded in 1882 it is hard to deny Willingham's claim to the Number 1 spot on this Top 5 list. In case you don't have a calculator handy, that is 133 years in business. Pretty darn impressive when you consider 50% of all small businesses fail in their first year.

360 7th Street
Macon, GA 31201
(478) 743-2642

#2. Hart’s Mortuary – 1899

Opened in 1899, Jesse B. Hart, a successful Macon entrepreneur with several business interests already established, joined his friend, C.M. Branan, to buy out a local undertaking firm owned by Dennis A. Keating. This merger marks the beginning of Hart’s as we know it. Two years later, Jesse bought out his partner’s interest and purchased yet another local undertaking firm, this one owned by Maconite Arthur L. Wood. The first Hart’s establishment was located at 550 Mulberry Street beside the Hotel Lanier.  The year after the initial expansion of Hart’s, the firm added a horse-drawn ambulance, and later, when automobiles came into general use, the first automobile ambulance to be used in the city.  Other advances in the industry were to follow, including the hiring of a lady Embalmer by 1911.   The firm eventually outgrew its original building, so John Freeman contracted with R.H. Smalling & Sons to design and build a new funeral home at 765 Cherry Street, its current location since 1931.

765 Cherry Street
Macon, GA
(478) 746-4321

#3. Union Furniture – 1912

Union Furniture Company has been serving the furniture needs of Macon, GA since 1912 – over 100 years. Union Furniture started out their business by waiting on the great-great-grandparents of many of our customers today. Service has always been their most important ingredient through the years, always remembering that pleasing their customers has been the most important ingredient for the longevity and success of Union Furniture.

464 Third Street
Macon, Georgia  31201


#4. Dunwody/Beeland Architects – 1915

Dunwody/Beeland, Architects, Inc. is among the oldest architectural firms in Macon as well as the State of Georgia.  Founded in 1915 by W. Elliott Dunwody, Jr., this professional office today boasts a multi-disciplinary practice perpetuated by the late Mr. Dunwody’s direct heirs and others. The name Dunwoody has become associated with downtown Macon development over the last few decades. The firm has led the charge on many downtown initiatives and is currently active in several new projects.

300 Mulberry Street #604
Macon, GA 31201
(478) 742-5321

#5. Nu-Way – 1916

In 1914, James Mallis immigrated to Macon from Greece and bought the original storefront on Cotton Avenue. At the time, it was just a fruit stand, sort of like a sandwich shop. But when he saw that hot dogs were all the rage in New York, Chicago and other northern cities, he converted it to a hot dog stand in 1916. Established the same year as Nathan's Famous hot dog stand in New York City, Nu-Way is the second oldest hot dog restaurant in the United States.  Thanks to the misplacing of a few vowels by a local sign-maker, Nu-Way has intentionally misspelled W-E-I-N-E-R on its marquee since 1937.

430 Cotton Ave
Macon, GA
(478) 743-1368


Interested in knowing more about Macon's rich history? Check out these TOP 5 Lists;