WPB’s Oldest Business is Reborn

Company Rebirth Saves Previous Jobs and Creates 19 New Jobs

The same year Lainhart & Potter hardware and supply store first opened its doors, Henry Flagler unveiled his plan to build a city he was going to call West Palm Beach.

It was 1893, and just as Grover Cleveland was beginning his second term as U.S. President, George Lainhart, a carpenter from New York and George Potter, a surveyor who moved from Cincinnati to ease his asthma teamed up to start a business.  Lainhart & Potter kept those doors open for 119 years until the economy finally forced them closed in 2011. Lainhart & Potter had been West Palm Beach’s longest continuously operated business. But now those doors are opening again and expected to create 19 new jobs in West Palm Beach plus put the old Lainhart & Potter employees back to work.

The rebirth is due, in part, to economic incentives provided by the West Palm Beach Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) to the Marjam Supply Company. Marjam has now acquire the failing Lainhart & Potter and is keeping the doors open, and the people working at the company’s north end location.

“This is a small business success story that demonstrates what can happen when the City, the Business Development Board of Palm Beach County and the State of Florida all work together,” said Alan Durham, City of West Palm Beach Executive Director of Economic Development. “Together we were able to come up with a plan that not only saved jobs, but saved a piece of history as well.”

This agreement marks a first for the newly created West Palm Beach Office of Economic Development. The Office, created by Mayor Jeri Muoio in April, 2012 is responsible for business recruitment, retention and expansion as well as stabilizing and increasing property values within the City.

“West Palm Beach is excited to welcome Marjam Supply Company to our city. Companies like Marjam bring solid jobs to our community and with over $1.5 million in new capital investment, our city’s north end will benefit from the company’s decision to relocate to West Palm Beach,” said West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio.

In addition to putting the former Lainhart & Potter employees back to work, the deal is expected create 19 new positions as well.