Fargo-based F.F. Fisher Sales and Leasing is known for selling cars.

That's just a smidgen of what occurs at the 21-year-old company, 500 40th St. S.

The business started in 1988 as an independent leasing company, said CEO F. Todd Fisher.

"We lease everything but real estate," he said. "We're involved in agricultural, medical, technology, construction equipment, you name it."

His father, Fay Fisher, launched the business after logging 25 years selling cars and working for lease companies.

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He was vice president of Wallwork Lease and Rental Co. from 1979 to 1986, when the division was sold to First Bank Systems Leasing Corp.

Two years later, when First Bank got out of auto leasing, Fay Fisher worked out an arrangement to service its leases.

He and partners Roger Hayenga, sons Todd and Tom Fisher, and Charlene Langness then formed F.F. Fisher Leasing Corp.

The company now has three divisions: F.F. Fisher Leasing Corp., consisting of vehicle leasing and fleet management services; F.F. Fisher Sales Corp., focusing on vehicle sales; and Fisher Equipment and Finance, its equipment leasing and finance arm.

"Ninety-nine percent of our business is commercial business," Todd Fisher said. "We have done packages from as a low as $10,000 up to one year we did $12.5 million with one account."

"The business has got a lot more depth than what people could ever imagine by driving by," said Tom Pedersen, company salesman.

The latest venture is equipment finance, Todd Fisher said.

Heading up that department is Dave Groshong, who was hired in September after working for 30 years in the banking industry.

F.F. Fisher has relied on existing accounts dating back to the 1980s in its equipment leasing division, Todd Fisher said.

"We haven't really gone out and marketed it," he said. "With Dave's background and experience, that's the next jump for us."

Groshong's job will be to help customers develop financial packages for presentation to potential lenders.

F.F. Fisher, with a staff of 13 people, works with companies in all but 16 states, Todd Fisher said.

"Over time we expanded into the retail division, which is the late-model cars that we have," he said.

And that, too, has changed.

The predominance of imported cars didn't exist 15 to 20 years ago, Pedersen said.

"Back then, we were selling Fords and Lincolns and General Motors cars with a smattering of imports," he said. "Now we're probably inventorying two-thirds imports and one-third domestics."

Readers can reach Forum Business Editor Craig McEwen at (701) 241-5502