Downtown Chico’s oldest business honored

Chico — Downtown Chico’s oldest business was honored Monday at the Parkside Tap House’s Downtown Chico Heritage Business Reception.

Chico City Councilman Sean Morgan moderated the event and delivered a rousing speech honoring several businesses. He names businesses based on their longevity and tells an anecdote or funny story as a representative of each business comes to receive their business’s certificate of recognition.

“We fight for family, for the future and for parking,” Morgan said. “The newest business is 43 years old. We have weathered disasters, blessings and a pandemic.”

The oldest business in downtown Chico is Collier Hardware, which opened in 1871. The latest is the Brooklyn Bridge Bagel Factory, which opened in 1979.

“Carol started Fifth Street Clothing. Because no one was going to hire her,” Morgan joked. The store opened in 1978.

“Campus bikes are an integral part of our community,” Morgan said. Campus Bikes opened in 1975.

Morgan said it was a Chico tradition for the couple to start school in Chico State, meeting at Madison Bear Gardens and buying their wedding rings from Kirk Jewelers. Kirk Jewelry opened in 1973.

Northern Star Mills, which opened in 1898, is third-generation family ownership, Morgan said.

Chico State President Gayle Hutchinson stepped forward to accept the award for Chico State. Chico State University opened in 1887 as California State Normal School.

“Without Chico State, Chico is just Redcliffe,” Morgan said.

Morgan said of Chico Enterprise-Record, which began in 1873, the paper never missed a publication date.

“It’s an honor to be recognized as one of Chico’s oldest businesses, especially along with the many other local businesses that have long been an important part of the community,” said Mike Wolcott, editor of Chico Enterprise-Record. “Since we printed our first edition, It’s been 169 years, and we look forward to more to come as Chico continues to grow and prosper.”

Morgan said he was chosen to be the emcee because he wasn’t afraid to “burn himself” in front of people who would come out to watch.

“I’ve crossed the line, but it hasn’t thrown me off!” Morgan said.

In addition to serving as a member of the Chico City Council and former mayor, he served as a board representative for the Chico Downtown Business Association and was a newsboy for Chico Enterprise-Record when he was 9 years old.

“Business is very important to the community,” Morgan said. “Without them, there would be no community.”

Morgan said years ago that businesses such as “butchers, bakers and candlestick makers” are more connected and therefore easier to trade.

“We’ve created a community with Collier Hardware and some of the oldest hardware,” Morgan said. “It’s a safe place to do business and have a family.”

Jennie Blevins writes a weekly business column. To make any suggestions, submit ideas or comment for future columns, please email

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