During its fifth decade, Enterprise Rent-A-Car left the old century behind and entered a new millennium … and celebrated 50 years in business. Along the way, the company surpassed milestone after milestone and set one new record after another – compiling a success story so compelling that it is being taught at dozens of universities.
With a newly adopted name that clearly reflected the predominant role of the neighborhood rental business, Enterprise Rent-A-Car launched an unprecedented era of expansion during its fourth decade. The company successfully applied and adapted its proven business model in new markets like Hawaii, Canada and Great Britain.
The winning game plan, refined and repeated over and over as Enterprise established a presence in new markets, focused on aggressively building the neighborhood rental business – serving customers who needed a temporary replacement vehicle because of an accident, repair or theft, or a different car for a special occasion or leisure trip.
During its second decade, Enterprise continued to grow, expanding beyond its hometown St. Louis roots and beyond its core car rental and leasing business. Focusing on neighborhood locations and the needs of local renters, the company opened offices in Kansas City, Atlanta, Houston and key markets in Florida – in fact, it was in Orlando that an entrepreneurial manager pioneered our trademark “We’ll pick you up” service which was quickly adopted throughout our operations.
In early 1957, Jack Taylor was 35 years old and the sales manager for a suburban St. Louis Cadillac distributorship. He became increasingly intrigued by the relatively unheard of practice of leasing cars as an easy, convenient alternative to buying and owning a vehicle. Taking a gamble and a 50 percent cut in pay, the entrepreneur convinced his boss to let him establish an auto leasing business.
It was 60 years ago on a rainy winter afternoon that Jack Taylor started a car leasing business. He invested his entire savings ($10,000 and the help of a loan), his future and his career into the new venture. In a tiny lower-level office in a St. Louis Cadillac dealership, he began with a fleet of seven cars, one employee and a commitment to provide a uniquely personal brand of customer service.