Veterinary supply company that began in Sumter bought by national supplier


Henry Schein Inc. recently announced its intent to acquire Merritt Veterinary Supplies Inc., an independent, family owned supplier of animal health products established in Sumter in 1938, according to a PRNewswire release.

Merritt has been serving approximately 4,500 veterinary clinics across the eastern U.S. and has a particularly strong presence in the southeastern U.S., according to the release.

Merritt is headquartered in Columbia and was founded in 1938 by veterinarian Dr. Lloyd Merritt and his wife. The Merritt webpage,, says the business was started in a building behind Dr. Merritt's home in Sumter.

Lloyd Merritt Jr. joined the company in 1964 and later assumed the role of president. In 1996, his son-in-law, Robert Mims, became president.

Merritt had about 150 employees at the time of sale and offered a comprehensive line of products, including pharmaceuticals, diagnostics and equipment - some on an exclusive basis.

Upon the closing of the transaction, Merritt will become part of Henry Schein Animal Health, the U.S. animal health business of Henry Schein Inc. Financial terms were not disclosed.

"The acquisition of Merritt Veterinary Supplies, one of the nation's largest independent regional veterinary suppliers, will meaningfully add to the scale of our U.S. animal health business while reinforcing our existing animal health presence in the eastern U.S.," Stanley M. Bergman, chairman of the board and CEO of Henry Schein, said in the release. "We look forward to serving Merritt's customers with the same high standards and commitment to helping veterinarians run more efficient, successful practices while providing the highest quality care."

Bobby Mims, president of Merritt Veterinary Supplies, said in the release he is comfortable the sale will result in greater value for customers.

"Merritt and Henry Schein share a deep commitment to providing the best customer experience possible," Mims said. "Our customers will benefit from the broader geographical presence of Henry Schein's distribution network as well as the company's commitment to provide customers with the products and services they need to operate successful veterinary practices."

Henry Schein Animal Health is based in Dublin, Ohio, and is the leading companion animal health distribution company in the United States, according to the release. The company has about 1,000 employees, including more than 250 field sales representatives and 150 telesales and customer support representatives, according to the release.