After more than 25 years as a restaurant and brewery, the famed General Lafayette Inn in Whitemarsh Township will experience new life as a business incubator.
Michael M. Carter, the Main Line entrepreneur who bought the inn last spring, said the space is being renovated into a club, open to members who will foster what he calls a brand. modern capitalism with a social component. His name has not been finalized.
Carter and his friend Michael T. Moe explain the concept in their book The Mission Corporation, which sets out seven principles for businesses, including a commitment to use their platform to positively impact society or their market; establish a means for all full-time workers to hold some form of equity compensation or shares; and to dedicate at least 3% of employee time to social/charitable causes, plus 2% of net income and 1% of sales or equity to support at least one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals United Nations.
Jay Davidson Susanin leads the historic work of the inn, parts of which date back to the 1730s and was originally known as Three Tuns. During the Revolutionary War, the Battle of Barren Hill took place in the immediate area and the Continental forces were led by Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette.
Carter, the founder and CEO of BizEquity, a business valuation service, called it a passion project. Montgomery County records indicated the purchase price was $845,000; in 2020, the property had been listed, with a liquor license, for $1.7 million. Carter didn’t buy the license.
The inn was a popular haunt among beer lovers.
It operated as General Lafayette, a restaurant and craft brewery, from 1996 to 2010 and as Barren Hill Tavern & Brewery from 2013 to 2016. Another group of owners then opened the General, a restaurant, which ran from 2017 to 2020, at least one paranormal group investigated allegations of ghostly activity there.