Enterprising: I.D. Booth


An Elmira-based business celebrates 145 years.


Walter Booth

LIFL: Congratulations on I.D. Booth celebrating 145 years in business! How many generations have been involved in the business?
Walter Booth, vice president of I.D. Booth: Thank you! The current managing generation is the fifth.

When and where did the business start?
1875 on Railroad Avenue in Elmira is the original location.

Who was the original owner? Can you tell me a little about him?
My great-great-grandfather, Irving D. Booth, after working for and with other partners, started his own business in 1875.

What kind of products did the I.D. Booth originally sell?
It is described as “heavy hardware.” They sold everything from horseshoes to nails to eavestroughs to pipe. Today, the company is a wholesaler of plumbing, heating, industrial and electrical supplies that serves a large portion of the New York State and Pennsylvania’s Northern Tier.

How many locations does I.D. Booth have now?
Currently we have 11 branch locations and a distribution center that supplies them daily.

Has an increase in tourism in the Finger Lakes Region had a positive effect on your business?
Indirectly yes. We have had a long history with the vineyards, supplying them wire for the fields. Now we find ourselves working with the developers building the destination hotels and multi-use vacation sites that are popping up around the lakes. And, we have always been the final stop for the cottage owners with their yearly needs when they have a problem at the cottage.

What is your favorite aspect of being a Finger Lakes resident?
I enjoy the lakes the most. I also love to watch the changes of the seasons.

What are the future plans for I.D. Booth?
We are currently updating our software system. It will not only bring us closer to being paperless with barcode scanning ability but also will help us create an e-commerce solution for online ordering for all of our customers.

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