One hundred years and counting.

That's at least as long as a Mesa County business has to be to get into a new, exclusive club being created by the Museums of Western Colorado and the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce.

That new club, The 100+ Society, isn't really a club, but inaugural members of it were recognized Thursday night at a museum event designed to honor organizations, farms and businesses that have served the region continuously for at least 100 years.

"To see organizations actually survive 100 years, it is pretty amazing," said Mark Francis, chairman of the museum board of directors.

"Eighty percent of businesses fail in their first five years, so the percentage of businesses that can actually celebrate that century is incredibly small," added Diane Schwenke, president and chief executive officer of the chamber.

"This is a major, major accomplishment. It is a tribute to the way you treat your customers, the way you treat your staffs, the way that you manage your businesses and your farms to last this long."

Those inaugural businesses, farms and organizations are:

■ Benge's Shoes, 541 Main St., Grand Junction, founded in 1911 and now is the oldest shoe store in the state.

■ Bull Creek Reservoir, Canal and Power Co., 52394 KE Road, Molina, incorporated in 1895, but founded an unknown number of years before then.

■ Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, 734 S. Seventh St., first published in 1893.

■ HomeLoan Investment Co., 205 N. Fourth St., Grand Junction, established in 1898.

■ Palisade Pharmacy, 707 Elberta Ave., founded as the Palisade Drug Co. in 1906.

■ St. Mary's Medical Center-SCL Health, 2635 N. Seventh St., Grand Junction, started as a 10-bed hospital by two nuns in 1896.

■ Hotel Melrose, 337 Colorado Ave., Grand Junction, opened by a retired rancher in 1908.

■ Bowman Farms near Palisade started in 1894.

■ Clark Family Orchards, 3929 U.S. Highway 6, Palisade, started in 1900.

■ Talbott Farms, 3800 F¼ Road, Palisade, began in 1897.

These businesses and farms were awarded durable outdoor plaques and indoor wall mount plaques recognizing that they surpassed the century mark and are members of the society.

The plaques were donated by Your Sign Co., 2478 Industrial Boulevard.

They also will be allowed use of a special logo designating the businesses and farms as society members.

They will have the option of creating a collection depicting aspects of their businesses at the museum for future generations to see.

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