The History of Coakley Brothers
Coakley Brothers was founded in 1888 by two brothers Bill and Charlie Coakley. They opened their first warehouse in the heart of downtown Milwaukee on Wisconsin Avenue. During this period the only methods of commercial transportation in Milwaukee was boat or rail. Goods would be shipped in trunks and crates which Coakley Brothers picked up in the coaches and buggies of the time, and delivered them into town.
Fast forwards almost two decades and the two brothers started running sightseeing tours along Lake Drive. During the week they would use the flatbed trucks for the deliveries, but on weekends, they would convert them by adding seats to be used for the tours.
Then in 1933, Coakley Brothers became an agent of what is now one of the largest van lines in America, Allied Van Lines. This new partnership paved the way for a full-service, long-distance moving operation for Coakley Brothers.
A few years after that, Charlie Coakley bought out his brothers share of the company. Since Charlie didn't have children, he allowed his two nephews, George and Charlie Coakley, of a different brother to work at the company. These two bothers George and Charlie, also had a sister, Georgia Coakley whom didn't work at Coakley Brothers. However, since George Coakley never had children, Georgia's children along with the children of Charlie Coakley, would inherit the business.
Charlie and George Coakley represented the second generation of Coakleys to run the business until 1952. However they never owned the company as it was held in trust my M&I Bank for the next generation to inherit upon the death of Charlie and George.
Now the children of Charlie Coakley and his sister Georgia Field, inherit the business out of trust from the bank. Charlie had 5 children and Georgia had 6 all with a portion of the company. The board held meetings to determine how to settle the ownership of the company. After much debate, the end result was that the two Coakley Brothers, Chuck and Neil bough out the Field children and eventually bought out their 3 sisters.
So from 1953 to 1978 Chuck and Neil rolled up their sleeves and start to build up the band Coakley Brothers. In 1978 Neil bought out Chuck's stock and became the sole owner of Coakley Brothers. Later that year, Neil designed the first "porta-rack" an invention universally used in the moving industry today eliminating the need for cartons.
In 1999, Peggy Coakley, Neil Coakley's daughter was named President and CEO of Coakley Brothers. She represents the 4th generation of Coakley to lead the company. In the 16 years since then, the company has more than doubled in size and expanded it service offerings into the Madison market. Other than commercial and residential relocation, Peggy expanded Coakley Brothers services to include Facilities Management, Warehousing, Logistics, Systems Furniture Installations.
Her father Neil, created a records retention company in 1973 that later was named Datastore. Peggy successfully grew Datastore to become the premier records retention center in the Milwaukee area. Datastore was eventually sold off and Peggy focused on developing a commercial office furniture division of Coakley Brothers, Brothers Business Interiors and a climate controlled self storage facility Stadium Self Storage.
Today, Coakley Brothers owns three buildings in the Milwaukee and Madison areas with 400,000 square feet of warehousing space. Coakley Brothers continually invests in the latest technology and it's people to maintain the quality of service that Milwaukee, Madison, and the rest of Wisconsin has come to know since 1888.
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