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Our Corporate Profile

Electrification was the cry at the turn of the century when a young man from the Mid-West arrived in Long Beach. Born in Illinois, Leonard Bond Marsh "went West" to go into business. He carried his grandfather's ledger of a family business established before the Civil War in Sutton, Massachusetts.

 

In 1912, with a young Englishman of like ideas, Frank Sarson, Marsh took out his license as an electrical contractor. The necessity of their buying supplies in Los Angeles provided the incentive to establish a Long Beach supply house - L.B. March, Electric Supplies, Wholesale Only.

 

Electricity was illuminating the world, and Marsh and Sarson prospered. At 1290 Gaviota Street they built a two-story brick warehouse in what was then the industrial section of Long Beach. Offices were installed on the second floor and here Mr. Sarson (no one dared to call him Frank) ruled. In charge of the day-to-day company operations, tall, spare, properly English in demeanor, Sarson is remembered as a man of honor and integrity.

 

Marsh, known as "L.B." to people of all ages, obtained the finest lines in the industry for the fledging firm; many of them still prevail in the business today. Bon vivant, sportsman, intellectual, Marsh participated in industry activities and organizations throughout the state. A great favorite with the ladies, he was respected by the men for his extraordinary skills and abilities.

 

A charter member of the Pacific Coast Club, L.B. conducted business at "his" table, the round table in the corner of the Old Grill. Afternoons he played bridge in the game room on the second floor. He became a Life Master of the American Contract Bridge League and trained a team of four men in his wholesale company so expertly that the team won the Los Angeles Industrial Bridge Tournament for several consecutive years. The tournament trophy took permanent root on the top of Marsh's roll-top desk. He was Singles Champion of the California State Shoot, Del Monte, 1930, and belonged to several gun clubs throughout California. He spent September big-game hunting in British Columbia, to his employees' delight. The trophy room in his Olive Avenue house was among the finest in the State.

 

L.B. Marsh, Electrical Supplies, survived World War I and the prosperous '20s, but the '29 crash brought on the Great Depression. L.B. said, "I survived the crash because I never owned any stock other than my own." In the midst of the Depression, Long Beach was planning her own crisis; at the dinner hour on a quiet evening in 1933 the city quivered, shook, rattled and collapsed. The two-story brick building on Gaviota Street lay in ruins in the Long Beach earthquake.

 

Marsh rebuilt, then courageously tackled another industry. In 1934, investing a few thousand dollars in an ailing company, he became owner of Allied Refrigeration, the original wholesale refrigeration supply house in Long Beach. He moved the company into his Gaviota Street complex. His nephew, Robert Lee Nichols, home from World War II in 1945, joined the infant company.

 

Attention was focused on the refrigeration industry, and the company grew, expanding to its present sixteen stores. One store was located in Las Vegas, Nevada, to serve its growing gaming industry.

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