By: Jennifer Britt
The Parsons Advocate
Third generation owner of Longs store, Ben Long celebrated 100 years of being in business, in Parsons. Long celebrated with a free chicken burn and sides for his customers. Long also held raffles for a Remington 270 BDL Custom Deluxe bolt action rifle and a Lodge brand Cook It All.
The winner of the Remington 270 bolt action rifle was Tammy Davis. When Long asked Davis what she was going to hunt with the gun Davis said while laughing and smiling, “Nothing! I am not even going to shoot that gun because it kicks too hard.” Long said, “I am so happy someone local won the gun.”
Debbie Thompson won the Lodge Cook It All cast iron set. The first customer of the day for the celebration was Mark Heckler.
Long said he had enough chicken plates for 100 customers, and they were all gone in 35 minutes. The barbeque chicken was cooked by Edward Evans and looked amazing. Long said, “It was a nice turn out. It was all orderly and everyone was happy.”
In 1922 Long’s grandfather started the business on Walnut Street as a nickel and dime store named B.F. Long & Co. Later the price of merchandise offered would raise to .25 cents and $1. The store has survived when others have not.
In 1917 Long’s grandfather moved his family from Clarksburg to Parsons with the dream of becoming a successful store owner. Many told the grandfather that he would come to Tucker County and go broke. The grandfather just said he did not intend to go broke, and he proved them all wrong. The grandfather would open that store in a rented space on Walnut Street for two years, 1922 and 1923, and afterwards would move to the store’s current location and remain for 98 years.
Long’s store no longer carries the nickel and dime selection but hosts an array of guns and ammunition, fishing poles and tackle, Lodge cast iron cookware, canning supplies and about anything you cannot find anywhere else.
Long hopes one day when he is ready to retire his son, a fourth generation Long, will come in and take over. At 78 years old Long has no plans of retiring anytime soon. Long said, “Right now I am in good health, and I plan to stay awhile.”
When asked why he has been so successful for 100 years Long said, “Good customers! We have had good, loyal customers for 100 years and we still do. That is what keeps us going is our customers.”