116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Maher Brothers Transfer and Storage was started in 1922 in Iowa City as a company that worked moving consumer goods across the country after World War I.
Today, it is led by brothers — and equal business partners — Tom and Tim Riley who have been at the helm for several decades.
They grew up working for the company, starting on the trucks back in the 1970s.
While the company got its start in moving consumer goods, today Maher Brothers is a full-service moving company and a Allied Van Lines affiliate.
“We move people locally within the state of Iowa but also all over the United States and have even done work internationally,” Riley said.
He added Maher Brothers also handles commercial customers as well as military moves and corporate relocations.
Being in business for 100 years has meant navigating a changing business landscape.
According Maher Brothers’ Facebook page, the business was started by Dennis, Robert and Michael Maher in Iowa City. Dennis assumed full ownership in 1927. In 1954 he sold the company to Earl Riley and Robert Bothell.
“For the next 15 years Bothell and Riley were 50-50 partners. Mr. Bothell managed most of the inside administrative duties and Mr. Riley managed all of the outside operational issues,” the social media post says. “Their partnership lasted until 1968 when Mr. Bothell would retire.”
“We’ve seen a lot of change within the industry and within our own business model,” Tom Riley said. “Deregulation in the 1980s was a big transitory moment in the trucking industry and for our business.
“Aside from going through that transition, in the last 25 years in particular we have seen the computerization of everything that we do,” he added. “And that’s ongoing obviously as we are constantly making improvements to the ways we serve our customers.”
Another change has to do with consolidation.
“Over the years we have acquired different competitors, or watched others retire. That has fueled some of our growth,” Riley noted.
“My brother Tim came here to Cedar Rapids in the mid-80s when things were really growing and being revitalized here. We were really lucky to be in the right place at the right time to be able to follow that growth.”
The pandemic brought its own set of challenges to the business, Riley added.
“We were deemed essential as part of the trucking industry, so we didn’t really miss a beat, but there were definitely some adjustments policy-wise and challenges to work through, especially because we were in people’s homes. There was a huge migration of people around the country during the pandemic, so that created a spike in our business and offset the challenges we were dealing with on a day-to-day basis.”
The Riley brothers have been working together for many years and Tom said their skills complement each other well. “I concentrate a lot on the administrative side of the business,” Tom Riley said, “including the finances, the accounting, the insurance and legal compliance. My brother Tim is more sales- and operations-minded.
“He takes care of a lot of things that are public facing while I cover more of the backroom functions of the company.”
President: Tom Riley
Address: 370 50th Ave Dr. SW, Cedar Rapids
Phone: (319) 229-2418
Depending on the time of year, Maher Brothers has between 35 and 40 employees between its four locations, including Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, Davenport and Des Moines.
“We’re busier in the summer during that peak season when we hire on additional part time employees,” Riley said, adding some of the employees have been with the company for more than 20 years.
“On top of that, we will have some independent contractors that own their own trucks that we have contractual relationship with,” he added.
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