The Tanner family Moving and Storage legacy started in Richmond, VA in 1917 with Elam Lee Tanner Jr. At age 17, Elam Lee Tanner Jr. used a horse drawn wagon to haul luggage for travelers at Richmond’s area train stations. With Elam Lee Tanner Jr’s entrepreneurial spirit it didn’t take long for him to identify the growing need for household goods movers in the Richmond area as well. At not a far stretch from hauling luggage his business soon evolved into a full service moving company at a time when the Moving and Storage industry was in its infancy. Thus Tanner’s Transfer & Storage was born. Tanner’s Transfer & Storage increasingly grew within the next several decades becoming one of the most well known and respected movers in Richmond. With Elam Lee Tanner Jr’s hard work and brilliant business sense, Tanner’s Transfer expanded into other markets across Virginia and soon became one of the largest hauler’s of household goods in the south. Interestingly, Elam Lee Tanner Jr. gave all of his trucks names, showing the care he took with his equipment.
Although very successful, Tanner’s Transfer did encounter its share of hardships, especially during the early 1940’s. In 1944, with the rationing of rubber and tires during WWII, Elam Lee Tanner Jr. was forced to park a substantial amount of the Tanner fleet in his warehouses due to the shortage. At this very same time his oldest son Elam Lee Tanner III was severely injured on the beaches of Normandy during the D-day invasion.
After the war Tanner’s Transfer recovered as did Elam Lee Tanner III. The business continued to grow with the help of his children that grew up in the business and helped run it. In 1963 at age 63 Elam Lee Tanner Jr. unexpectedly passed away due to a brain aneurism. It has been speculated that this aneurism may have been brought on when several days earlier Elam Lee Tanner Jr. struck his head on a truck mirror while walking in-between a row of trucks at his Norfolk, VA location.
With his passing, a board of directors was formed to help continue the family business. The board was largely comprised of Elam Lee Tanner Jr’s four children Elam Lee III, Nancy, Richard and William. At the time, Tanner’s Transfer had interstate authority to haul goods to 32 of the 48 continental states, which was unprecedented during an era of interstate commerce regulation. The Motor Carrier Act of 1980 deregulated the trucking industry. This deregulation substantially increased Tanner’s Transfer & Storage’s competition in the interstate move market. Due to this fact and because of a severe economic downturn, Tanner’s Transfer decided to close its doors in 1981 after 64 years.
However the Tanner family moving story didn’t end there. Brandon R. Tanner Sr., the son of WWII veteran Elam Lee Tanner III, grew up in the family moving and storage business as well helping his father run Tanner’s Transfer. In 1978 at 19 years old Brandon Tanner Sr. started Tanner & Tanner Moving Systems. It also closed in 1982 due to the same economic downturn that forced Tanner’s Transfer to close in 1981.
However, that didn’t deter Brandon R. Tanner Sr. from carrying on the family name that had been a mainstay in the Moving and Storage industry for decades. In 1986 with more determination than ever Brandon Tanner Sr. made his second attempt and started Tanner Van Lines, Inc. with three trucks and a 6,000 square-foot warehouse in Mechanicsville, VA (right outside the city limits of Richmond). Brandon R. Tanner Sr. exhibited much of the same entrepreneurial qualities and business sense that made his grandfather’s business so successful. In much the same way, he grew his business over the next several years with more trucks, employees, and warehouse storage space. Around 1990, after representing several smaller interstate carriers, Tanner Van Lines, Inc. became interstate agents for Global Van Lines, a member of the SIRVA Group.
In 1995 Marie Tanner, keeping in line with Tanner family tradition, started Tanner International Forwarding, Inc. with the acquisition of L.A. Sheffield Transfer & Storage in Petersburg, VA. This sister company of Tanner Van Lines, Inc. has a 25,000 square foot warehouse on Bollingbrook Street in Downtown/Old Towne Petersburg, in addition to an auxiliary warehouse in Richmond.
July 9th 2001 Article
|Brandon Ross Tanner Sr.|
In 2002 Brandon R. Tanner Sr. purchased a state of the art, 53,000 square foot warehouse in Richmond’s East End (Not far from the Richmond International Airport) off of Charles City Road in Henrico County. It didn’t take long for Tanner Van Lines, Inc. to fill this enormous warehouse with over a million pounds of household goods storage. Tanner’s warehouse is a Department of Defense approved facility that stores hundreds of thousands of pounds of household goods for Military Servicemen and Servicewomen via storage contracts with Fort Lee, Norfolk Naval Base, Langley Air Force Base, and Fort Belvoir. In addition to civilian local, intrastate, and interstate moves, Tanner Van Lines also moves many of our military soldiers and servicemen around the country and around the world. Tanner Van Lines, Inc. are experts in international relocations in addition to all other types of moves.
|Tanner Van Lines, Inc. Current Headquarters||
Containerized Shipments and Storage in
Tanner's State of the Art Facility
|Side View of the warehouse Facility|
With Brandon R. Tanner Sr’s hard work and leadership, Tanner Van Lines, Inc. saw increased growth into the new millennium. In 2006 Tanner Van Lines, Inc. became dual agents, representing not only Global Van Lines, but North American Van Lines as well (also a member of the SIRVA group). North American Van Lines is one of the nation’s largest and most recognized names in the moving industry. In 2008 SIRVA group decided to dissolve Global Van Lines, and instead focus and invest more resources into its flagship brand, North American Van Lines. As a result, Tanner Van Lines became the exclusive central Virginia interstate agent for North American Van Lines.
In 2009 Brandon R. Tanner Sr. retired after a lifelong career and successful run in the moving and storage business. He handed over the reins to the fourth generation of Tanner movers, his two sons Brandon “Ross” Tanner Jr. and Jonathan Tanner. Ross and Jonathan also, much like their father and grandfathers before them, grew up in the moving & storage business at an early age starting from the bottom up. Tanner Van Lines, Inc. is still very much a family affair today, currently employing three generations of Tanners, including: William Tanner (Senior Driver/2nd Generation), Elam “Lee” Tanner IV (Sales Manager/3rd Generation), and Jonathan Tanner (Military Manager-Quality Control/4th Generation). Even now, when you request a moving quote from Tanner Van Lines, Inc., more than likely an actual Tanner will be performing your free in-home estimate.
Today B. Ross Tanner Jr. is currently President of Tanner Van Lines, Inc., and is continuing the family tradition of providing quality Moving and Storage.