Stability, Strength and Integrity

Merchants Fleet History

Traditional values, professionally refined. The History of Merchants Fleet.

Since our inception in 1962, Merchants Fleet has had one simple goal: To deliver the very best in product and customer service to our clients. While times have changed, our position in developing forward-thinking concepts into actionable results remains constant. We’re proud to have grown from a single automotive dealership in Southern New Hampshire into a nationwide fleet management company, all while maintaining our dedication to flexibility and the promise of “best in class and built to last” service.

office
  • 1962
       

    1962 - Merchants Motors Founded

    Irving Singer founded Merchants with the goal of starting a used automotive dealership in Southern New Hampshire. Impressed with the service he received from Merchants Bank, Irving borrowed not only cash but the bank’s name too. In 1962 “Merchants Motors” opened with 50 used cars and a philosophy based on customer service and philanthropy.

  • 1964
       
    old cars

    1964 - National Car Rental Business Launches

    To build upon its high levels of customer satisfaction, Merchants proudly opened its first rental car location, which was aligned with the National Car Rental brand. Combined with the success of the auto dealership and service department, Merchants quickly became synonymous with dependability, fairness, and honesty.

  • 1967
       
    Merchants Leasing

    1967 - Local Leasing Business Opens

    From the beginning, Mr. Singer realized he was offering much more than just cars for sale. He was also offering automotive services and rentals, which led Merchants into the local fleet leasing business in 1967. When Irving Singer retired, his sons Stephen, Robert, Alan, Jeffrey, Gary, and son-in-law Michael Sydney took over the business and continued to grow it based on their father’s full-service philosophy.

  • 1972
       
    merchants motors

    1972 - Hooksett Becomes Flagship Location

    With business booming, Mr. Singer sought a new location that could properly support the needs of his customers well into the future. He decided to move the business to a lot in Hooksett, which after numerous renovations and improvements, still serves as the location for the automotive dealership today.

  • 1977
       
    1977 Merchants Rent-a-Car

    1977 - Merchants Rent-A-Car Expands Service Area

    Always looking for ways to enhance the customer experience, Merchants Rent-A-Car expanded its operations and opened a satellite location in Salem, New Hampshire. Other locations soon followed, and at its operational peak, the company owned and managed 17 locations throughout New Hampshire, Vermont, and Massachusetts.

  • 1980
       
    car headlights

    1980 - Merchants Opens Regional Leasing Business

    Merchants Leasing continued to grow and succeed, and in 1980 the company began its expansion across the region.

  • 1983
       
    Merchants Rent a Car

    1983 - Merchants Rent-A-Car Expands Nationally

    Merchants Rent-A-Car moved forward as an independent agency and, in doing so, became the largest non-affiliated rental car company in the United States.

  • 1991
       
    Salvation Army

    1991 - Irving Singer Receives Salvation Army’s William Booth Award

    In honor of his humanitarian efforts of time, expertise, and financial resources, The Salvation Army awarded Irving Singer with The William Booth Award. It is one of the highest honors that may be conferred upon an individual by The Salvation Army.

  • 1991
       
    Irving Singer

    1991 - Irving Singer Passes Away

    To the company’s profound sadness, our founder, Mr. Irving Singer, passed away in 1991. The second generation of the Singer family, led by Irving’s son Stephen Singer, took over leadership of the company. While Irving’s physical presence left, his dedication to the local community and employees, as well as his drive towards excellence in all facets of life, lives on through his family.

  • 1992
       
    First NH Bank Report

    1992 - Merchants Receives $50M Commitment from First NH Bank

    Merchants continued to grow and succeed. In recognition of this success, First NH Bank established a full relationship with the business and facilitated $50,000,000 in financing commitments. The bank also profiled the company’s success story in their First Report, highlighting the company’s commitment to customers and the community.

  • 1993
       
    Business People

    1993 - Merchants Hires First Outside Board of Advisors

    In response to the company’s continued growth, Merchants brought in its first outside board of advisors. The board offered extensive expertise as the company transitioned to its current model of being privately-owned and professionally managed.

  • 1995
       

    1995 - National Leasing Business Opens

    The Merchants commitment to exceptional service in automotive services and rentals continued to drive the company’s growth. Merchants took its leasing business to the next stage by offerings its services across the country.

  • 1998
       
    American Cancer Society

    1998 - Singer Family Receives the American Cancer Society’s Lifetime Achievement Award

    The Singer family was selected for the organization’s esteemed Lifetime Achievement Award because of their support of the American Cancer Society’s efforts to save lives and for their leadership in local community-based programs and fundraising events.

  • 2000
       
    Salvation Army

    2000 - Gary Singer Wins Salvation Army William Booth Award

    The William Booth Award is one of the highest honors that may be conferred upon an individual by The Salvation Army. Gary Singer was selected for this prestigious award for his outstanding humanitarian efforts to the community through donations of time, expertise, and financial resources. It was the first time a father and son both received the award; Irving Singer had also received the award previously.

  • 2001
       
    Gary and Robert Singer

    2001 - Robert & Gary Singer Named Co-CEOs

    Continuing the tradition of family leadership, brothers Robert and Gary Singer took the helm of Merchants as Co-CEOs in 2001. They held their roles until 2003, and both remain active as part of the Ownership Group today.

  • 2003
       
    phil ryan

    2003 - Phil Ryan named as Merchants first CEO

    By bringing in a CEO, the company furthered its strategic initiative to become privately owned and professionally managed. Phil held the CEO position for 9 years.

     

  • 2003
       

    2003 - Professional Management Team Hired

    In 2003, a professional management team was hired to bring additional industry talent to the executive team and to accelerate the organization’s growth.

  • 2004
       
    Black Chevy Truck

    2004 - Merchants Acquires Mirak Leasing

    With an eye towards further expansion in the fleet leasing industry, Merchants acquired the vehicles and lease agreements of Mirak Leasing of Arlington, Massachusetts. The transaction boosted the national presence of the company through immediate growth and increased logistical capabilities.

  • 2004
       
    Short Term Leasing

    2004 - Merchants Launches Short-Term Leasing

    Following its long-term corporate growth strategy, Merchants closed its rent-a-car business and shifted its sights to the market for short-term leasing. This transformation allowed the organization to fully support the customized needs of clients by delivering unique fleet solutions created on a flexible scale.

  • 2005
       

    2005 - Gary Singer Becomes Chairman & President

    In 2005, Gary Singer assumed the position of Chairman & President of the Board. He still serves as Chairman of the Board today, focusing on ensuring Merchants continues to deliver on his father’s philosophy of superior client service and innovative solutions.

  • 2007
       

    2007 - Merchants Leasing Acquires One Fleet Source

    Merchants purchased the business of One Fleet Source, LLC, (OFS) of Overland Park, Kansas, to strengthen its ability to better serve  short-term leasing clients throughout the country. The acquisition of one of the largest and most respected competitors in the rental and short-term leasing business proved ideal in expanding the company’s geographical footprint into the mid-west and western regions of the country.

  • 2011
       
    Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year

    2011 - Robert and Gary Singer Named Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year® 2011 New England Award Semifinalists

    Senior Vice President and Principal Owner, Robert Singer, and Chairman of the Board and Principal Owner, Gary Singer, were named as semi-finalists for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. They were selected from nearly 60 nominations by a panel of independent judges. The program recognizes entrepreneurs who demonstrate excellence and extraordinary success in such areas as innovation, financial performance, and personal commitment to their businesses and communities.

  • 2011
       
    ALD Automotive

    2011 - Merchants Leasing Acquires ALD Automotive USA

    In a move which reinforced its leading position in the fleet leasing and fleet management industries, Merchants Leasing acquired the North American arm of ALD Automotive, one of the largest fleet providers in Europe. As a result of this transaction, Merchants took ownership of ALD’s U.S. customer base of about 3,300 vehicles.

  • 2011
       
    Gail Singer Memorial Blood Drive

    2011 - Gail Singer Memorial Blood Drive Becomes Nation’s Largest

    In 2011, the Gail Singer Memorial Blood Drive, which is held every year in memory of Gary Singer’s late wife Gail, reached the milestone of being the nation’s largest Red Cross blood drive. Nearly 2,000 pints of blood were collected from over 2,300 potential donors in a single day. The event now spans two days and continues to be the Singer Family’s signature community service activity.

  • 2012
       
    Glen Villano

    2012 - Glen Villano Becomes CEO

    In 2012, Glen Villano was promoted from Chief Operations Officer to CEO. Glen had joined Merchants in 2008 and worked with senior leadership to develop a multi-million dollar enterprise management system to sustain operations. He served as CEO for five years.

  • 2012
       

    2012 - Robert Singer Named President

    To continue the organization’s excellence and commitment to employees and clients, Merchants proudly selected Robert Singer to fill the role of President, which was vacant after the retirement of Stephen Singer. Throughout his career, Robert’s vision and drive have played a major role in the aggressive and profitable growth of Merchants Fleet, and his contributions have proven successful in broadening the reach of the company.

  • 2013
       
    Merchants Fleet Management

    2013 - Merchants Launches Fleet Management Business

    As Merchants continued to grow, it quickly became more than simply leasing. Merchants formally launched itself as a fleet management company in 2013, reflecting the full suite of service offerings it could offer its clients in addition to vehicle financing and leasing.

    Merchants Fleet Management Board

  • 2013
       
    Michael Singer and family

    2013 - Third Singer Generation Joins Merchants

    Michael Singer became the third generation of the Singer family to join the business in 2013. He started as a fleet business analyst and later moved into the role of strategic consultant, where he engaged with clients to find optimal solutions for their fleet needs. He still works at Merchants today.

  • 2013
       
    Bechtel

    2013 - Merchants Receives 2013 Key Supplier Award from Bechtel Corporation

    Merchants was recognized as a Key Supplier by the Bechtel Corporation for its valuable contributions to Bechtel’s power projects. Nominees were chosen by Bechtel’s procurement and contract managers, and winners were chosen by senior leaders. Qualifications for this achievement included overall performance, delivering quality equipment on time, working collaboratively to meet milestones, and meeting or exceeding project expectations of safety, construction performance, technical expertise, and environmental compliance.

  • 2014
       

    2014 - Merchants Launches TotalView

    In order to deliver unparalleled personalized service in the digital age, Merchants proudly launched TotalView. This analytics-driven fleet management solution became a standard part of the company’s service package and enables fleets to strategically make data-based decisions aligned with their specific operational and business goals.

  • 2014
       

    2014 - Merchants Reaches 25,000 Managed Units

    In 2014, Merchants reached a significant milestone – 25,000 vehicles under management. It was a marker of the company’s evolution into a significant player in the fleet management industry thanks to its continual focus on innovation, flexibility, and most importantly the client.

  • 2014
       

    2014 - Merchants Innovation Center Opens

    To accommodate Merchants Fleet’s continued success and rapid growth in its technology offerings, a state-of-the-art Innovation Center was opened in Chicago on June 20, 2014. The new location reinforced the company’s commitment to serving current and prospective clients, expanding upon its technological center of excellence, and attracting and retaining top talent in the fleet management industry.

  • 2015
       
    Best Company to Work For

    2015 - Merchants Named Best Company to Work For

    Merchants was named a 2015 Best Company to Work For Award winner by Business NH Magazine. This distinction recognizes businesses that go out of their way to develop a respectful, creative, and supportive corporate culture that supports a highly engaged workplace.

    The company is proud to have received this distinguished award in 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018.

  • 2015
       
    Alamo Leasing Company

    2015 - Merchants Acquires Alamo Leasing

    Merchants Fleet acquired Texas-based Alamo Leasing, the latest in a series of partnerships and acquisitions aimed at bolstering the company’s strategic plan for controlled growth. The move further advanced the expansive growth strategy of the organization and firmly entrenched Merchants among the nation’s top 10 fleet management companies.

  • 2016
       
    Great Place to Work Award

    2016 - Merchants Fleet Management Certified as a Great Place to Work

    Merchants Fleet Management was certified as a great workplace by the independent analysts at Great Place to Work®. The organization is very proud of receiving this distinction because it is presented to companies based on results of an anonymous employee survey containing questions about overall satisfaction of their work environment, benefit reviews, management, community relations, and much more.

    Merchants is honored to have been named a recipient of this prestigious award in 2016, 2017, and 2018.

  • 2016
       
    Client Advisory Board

    2016 - Merchants Assembles Client Advisory Board

    In 2016, Merchants launched its Client Advisory Board in order to deepen relationships with clients, better understand client pain points, and solicit ideas and feedback. The CAB has proven to be an invaluable resource to the company, and it continues to be a source of insight and inspiration into how to continually meet fleet professionals’ evolving needs.

  • 2017
       
    Rising Stars Cool Company Award

    2017 - Merchants Wins “Cool Company for Young Professionals”

    Merchants won the “Cool Company for Young Professionals” award at the 2017 Rising Stars Awards. The organization Stay, Work, Play developed this award to honor companies in New Hampshire that create environments to attract, develop, and retain young workers.

  • 2017
       
    Brendan P Keegan

    2017 - Brendan P. Keegan Named CEO

    Merchants Fleet is committed to seeking dynamic leaders that embody the Merchants Fleet spirit. In 2017, the organization hired Brendan P. Keegan as its Chief Executive Officer. As an award-winning executive, Keegan’s understanding of fleet management and the company’s mission position him and Merchants Fleet for remarkable success and growth in the years ahead.

  • 2018
       
    50000 vehicles

    2018 - Merchants Eclipses 50,000 Managed Units

    Building upon an expansive growth strategy and incorporating key corporate initiatives, Merchants surpassed the 50,000 managed units milestone. In the 5 years leading up to this milestone, the company expanded its portfolio by 46%, bringing it another step closer to achieving its goal of doubling the size of the company by 2023.

  • 2019
       
    Merchants Fleet Logo

    2019 - Merchants Launches FleetTech Business

    Forces like connectivity, intelligence, multi-modal transportation, and efficiency are continually impacting how people and businesses move goods and services. In light of these industry changes, Merchants repositioned itself as a FleetTech business in 2019. The company shortened its name from Merchants Fleet Management to Merchants Fleet, adopted a new logo, and launched a new website to reflect its focus on connecting clients with the technology, fleet services, and specialized teams required to meet their evolving transportation needs.