In 2018 Harrington Insurance Agency celebrated its 50 th anniversary in business, a family-owned full-line insurance agency that has been an institution in downtown Norcross since the last century!
J P Harrington, chairman of the board of the company, entered the insurance business as a young man, working as an agent in an Atlanta company. Lenox Square Mall had opened in 1959, and his office was just down the street from that then-new shopping institution, at 3379 Peachtree Road.
He established his own agency in early 1968, with an office at first located near the Chamblee-Tucker exit from I 85. A few years later he moved the business to downtown Norcross, and it has been at the center of our community ever since.
In the early years he leased space in the back of the building now occupied by Paizano’s restaurant (a heating and air contractor was in the front portion of the building in those days.)
Several years later he purchased his current property, at 39 South Peachtree Street. This had been the Norcross City Hall, but when the city moved its headquarters to the current location on Lawrenceville Street they put the property on South Peachtree up for sale. JP was the winning bidder, and moved in to take over the space that had once been the hub of city operations – it had included the police communications centers, city jail (with separate sections for men and women prisoners), vital records storage (in its own space, with thick concrete walls to protect against fire and storms), a kitchen and such.
These days there is a chiropractic practice in the front of the building, and the insurance agency is in the rear part of the location, with an entrance on Skin Alley (and its own dedicated parking lot across the alley.) JP’s office was once the space where Lillian Webb sat when she was serving as mayor.
The agency is a family affair – JP’s sons Mark and Jim work in the company, and his wife Pat is involved as well. Mark and Jim are both graduates of Norcross High School, with Mark later graduating from Georgia Southern and Jim from Georgia State.
They have grown the business by knocking on doors, working with local organizations like the Rotary, boy scouts and schools, and through business contacts. The photo below shows JP speaking at a local Rotary Club function.
JP has seen a lot of change in downtown Norcross over the years – he recalls that the town was a sleepy place when he arrived – most of the downtown businesses at that time closed up at 5:00 and folks left, and the weekends were very quiet downtown. He is impressed by how much more vibrant it is today.