Interesting story, Boing Boing is reporting here.
I wonder though how they can ascertain that it is (was) the oldest business out there.
There must be some medieval originated trades still in business in the old cities of Europe.
World's oldest business ends 1,428-year run: "Mark Frauenfelder:
A Japanese temple-building company founded in the year 578 is going out of business. Here's Business Week's article.
_The circumstances of Kongo Gumi's demise also offer some lessons. Despite its incredible history, it was a set of ordinary circumstances that brought Kongo Gumi down at last. Two factors were primarily responsible. First, during the 1980s bubble economy in Japan, the company borrowed heavily to invest in real estate. After the bubble burst in the 1992-93 recession, the assets secured by Kongo Gumi's debt shrank in value. Second, social changes in Japan brought about declining contributions to temples. As a result, demand for Kongo Gumi's temple-building services dropped sharply beginning in 1998.
By 2004, revenues were down 35%. Masakazu Kongo laid off employees and tightened budgets. But in 2006, the end arrived. The company's borrowings had ballooned to $343 million and it was no longer possible to service the debt. In January, the company's assets were acquired by Takamatsu, a large Japanese construction company, and it was absorbed into a subsidiary.
(Via Boing Boing.)