GALION — The oldest business in Galion is moving to a new location, within the city limits.
The doors to Longstreth Memorials opened Jan. 6, 1868, at 134 Harding Way West, its current location.
In the spring, the business will move to 1263 Ohio 598, near the city’s industrial park.
“My great-great grandfather, T.W. Longstreth, opened the business three years after the Civil War,” said current owner Sean Longstreth. “He apprenticed in Mount Gilead and opened the business near the cemetery, which was where the old high school was. It later moved to Fairview Avenue and became Fairview Cemetery.”
Sean said T.W. and his son, Homer, lived in an apartment above the business and eventually, Homer took over the day-to-day operations of Longstreth.
“Homer’s son, Merle, took over the business and was mayor of Galion in the 1970s,” Sean said.
Sean’s father, Phil, began working in the business in 1961.
“The Mansfield location was purchased in 1962 and the Bucyrus location in 1972,” Sean said.
Sean said the decision was made in 1973 to purchase Wilbert Vaults.
“We had locations in Mansfield and Marion before opening our vault plant here in Galion, on Riblet Street, in 1993,” Sean said.
Since the mid-1990s, the business has steadily grown.
“We create and supply vaults and monuments across Ohio.
While our monuments are sold to the public at retail prices, we distribute caskets and vaults directly to funeral homes,” Sean said.
In 2010, Jahn Monuments near Mount Gilead became part of the Longstreth Company.
“Since we have undergone some growth, we are combining our operations at the building on 598,” Sean said.
TerriLongstreth, Sean’s wife, said the new location will house all operations from the vault plant on Riblet Street, as well as the monument business on Harding Way West.
“The new building will feature a 2,000 square-foot showroom. We will offer (to the public) a line of crematory memorial products as well as a section for veterans, along with our other monuments,” Terri said.
Caskets and vaults will continue to be distributed solely to funeral homes.
Monuments and vaults will be created on-site.
“People can come in and see how those are made,” said Terri.
The move will mean more local employment.
“We currently have 22 employees, overall but will be adding about five new employees after the move to the new location,” Sean said.
The move should be completed by the end of May, 2017.
“The new building is 22,000 square feet and renovations will begin Dec. 2,” Sean said. “We also have seven acres of land so we can continue to expand in the future.”
Sean said locations in other areas were researched.
“We looked at other locations, but when it came down to it, we are the oldest business in Galion and we wanted to stay here,” Sean said.
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Reach Gasuras on Twitter: @kimberlygasuras
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