By: Lydia Crawley
The Parsons Advocate
Some big changes have come to Parson’s oldest shop. For over a century, B.F.Long & Co. have served the Parsons area with sporting goods. Over the summer, the shop got a face lift in the form of a new display window and exterior work.
The shop was founded by B. Frank Long, the grandfather of current owner Ben F. Long III who operates the shop along with his son, Ben F. (Bud) Long IV. The current Longs are the third and fourth generation to own and operate the shop at 331 First Street in Parsons. Long III said he has owned the shop since 1977 and has personally managed the shop full time since 1985.
According to Long III, his grandfather first founded the shop in 1922 at a location on Walnut for two years before purchasing the current building and moving the shop. “This came up for sale and he bought it in 1924 and been here for 100 years in this location.”
“We plan on being here 200 years,” Long III said. “I don’t think I will, but Buddy might.”
“The renovations started out (because) I had a leak over that front window,” Long III said.
All the renovation work was done by a local Amish craftsman named Freeman Miller, according to Long III. “The front of that store has gotten him a lot of jobs because he did such a good job for me,” Long III said. “Everyone loves it.”
Only one more repair is needed to complete the renovations, according to Long III. A crack in the front display window has led to the need for a replacement window. Long III said he will replace the large window in the spring. “I am going to do that when the snow leaves,” Long III said.
The current renovations are not the first time the building has needed a complete face lift. Following the 1985 Flood, the building was condemned after the historic building was nearly destroyed and forced from its foundation by the water, according to Long III.
B.F. Long & Co. carry a wide range of outdoor, camping and home goods including a full line of cast iron cookware, fishing and hunting gear, firearms and ammunition, as well as home goods such as silk flowers. The shop is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon. The shop is closed Sundays.