Kerner & Merchant staff are highly trained in both music and keyboard instruments. The company was founded in Syracuse, New York, in 1978 by Benjamin Merchant, a musician educated in music history, voice, and keyboard theory and design, who apprenticed with harpsichord builder Walter Burr and organ builder Leonard Carlson, and by Robert Kerner, keyboard instrument curator at the Eastman School of Music.
Mr. Merchant, who has taken professional examinations through the American Institute of Organbuilders and achieved the status of Colleague with that organization. He continues to run the company today with the assistance of co-owners A. Hawley Arnold, and Ryan J Boyle, both professional musicians and craftsmen.
The Kerner & Merchant office and shop are located in East Syracuse, New York, in a two-story, 30′ x 60′ (1800 square feet) building. The main 30′ x 30′ (900 square feet) workroom is provided with wood and metal working equipment, as well as electrical and electronic equipment suitable for all phases of organ building and cabinet making. As much of pipe organ building requires the fabrication of non-standard parts, Kerner & Merchant craftsmen routinely create their own tools to assist in the manufacture of their craft.