In the mid-1930s, LeRoy E. Harrington (who preferred to be called Harry) was a successful salesman for PABCO Building Products in California.
Throughout his travels, Harry recognized an opportunity to start a business that would distribute roofing products exclusively, which was a new concept at the time. In early 1938, Harry, and his wife, Ilene, moved to Salt Lake City to start a roofing distributorship.
Harry canvassed the local lumberyards and offered to help them become specialized roofing dealers in trade for purchasing his products. Harry found a space on 2100 South in Salt Lake City which he rented from a local coal company. At this location he opened L.E. Harrington Company and remained there for several years.
In the early ’50s, Harry purchased a home and three acres to build a roofing yard at 1425 South 300 West. The location was good, but he had no access to telephone service, which he needed to effectively run his business.
One day Harry went to the grocery store across the street which had phone service. The store was owned by Elden Booth. Elden had purchased the store after serving in the Merchant Marines during WWII, and marrying his sweetheart, Leora Christensen. Harry asked Elden to share his telephone service with him and offered to pay for it. He also needed help unloading products and asked if Elden was interested in helping out. Elden agreed to both, and their working relationship began that day.
As business grew, Harry offered Elden part-time work. While Harry wanted Elden to become more involved with the business, he recognized Elden’s need for more roofing experience. Harry suggested that Elden go to work for a local roofing contractor, which Elden did for two years.
L. E. Harrington Company was the distributor of El Rey Roofing products. As business improved, Harry offered Elden full-time work. This enabled Ilene to turn over many of her responsibilities to Elden. One of his new found duties was in bookkeeping which he was hesitant about taking on. “But Harry was always there to teach me whatever I needed to learn,” Elden said
As Harry grew older, his health began to decline. This caused him to think about the company’s future. He decided to form a partnership with Charles “Charlie” Elliott of El Rey Roofing. With this reorganization, the business was renamed Harrington & Company. Harry remained president, Charlie became vice-president, and Elden was made secretary.
In 1965, the business was growing. With the previous addition of new roofing products, Harrington & Company needed space to expand. After negotiating with the railroad for some land of a more appropriate size, the property on 300 West was traded for a business site at 760 West Layton Avenue, where they still do business today.
As Harrington’s business continued to improve, and as time went on, Harry’s health began to rapidly diminish. After Charlie’s retirement, Ilene Harrington visited with Elden and expressed her concern about the future of the company. If something should happen to Harry, they wanted Elden to buy the business. This was due to Elden’s loyalty to Harry throughout the many years they had worked together.
Elden had a special relationship with Harry and Ilene Harrington. Elden often has stated that they treated him like the son they never had. On January 27, 1971, Elden purchased Harrington & Company, which he led for the next 45 years until he sold it to his sons.
As teenagers, Stephen, Michael, & Brian Booth were each given opportunities to work at Harrington & Company. Over the years, they have learned the various aspects of the business, while working in the roofing yard, as truck drivers and fork-lift operators, ridge-loaders, warehousemen, salesmen, and eventually owners. They credit their father for teaching them the value of dedication and hard work, that customers and employees are family and should be treated as such, that honesty is truly the best policy, and much, much more.
Today, they work hard to grow and improve Harrington & Company.