Family Owned Since 1950
When Bill Maher took over the family business from his father, Paul Maher in 1985, he thought he would never retire. So it’s no surprise that even though Bill Maher “passed the torch” of ownership to his daughter Danielle Maher-Baron and her husband Sam Baron, he is still active in the company, testing water in homes and businesses, and assisting with the transition to the third generation of ownership for this family business.
Maher Soft Water Service was founded in 1950. The business office was located in the dining room of the Maher family home, and the home’s garage was converted into a plant where steel portable exchange tanks for softening water and removing iron were dumped and recharged with fresh mineral before being sent out on routes to homes.
By 1985 Bill Maher took the reins of the business, incorporating in 1989 as Maher Water Corporation. It was time to expand. In July of 1990 Maher’s moved into its new store in Stevens Point’s industrial park. Portable exchange tanks gave way to automatic water conditioners and reverse osmosis water filters, and Maher’s began offering bottled water for the first time. In the following years, Maher’s opened a service base and store in Minocqua , and created its own brand of bottled water, Maher Premium Water. In addition to the WaterCare brand water conditioners Maher’s had carried for several years, they also become a Kinetico dealer and began offering water softeners with non-electric control heads. In 2003 the Stevens Point building was expanded.
On March 31, 2011, Maher Water Corporation entered its third generation of family ownership. The new owner, Danielle Maher-Baron grew up around the family business and began working there full time in 1995 as a certified water specialist. “She started in sales and had great success,” said Bill Maher. “so much so, that it surprised me when she asked to replace a service technician who was leaving the company.” Eventually Danielle became a Wisconsin state-licensed master plumber and certified installer. In recent years she worked in management and handling day-to-day details of running the company, so the transition into becoming President of the corporation was seamless. Her husband Sam, who had also worked for several years as a certified water specialist and water consultant, has also become the Vice President.
Maher’s continues its tradition of offering free water tests and service after the sale, with four certified water specialists/water consultants, six full-time service technicians and two master plumbers on staff. The company’s presence in the Northwoods continues to grow. They continue to provide regular route deliveries and routine maintenance for no charge beyond the cost of salt, filters or regenerants the system requires, and they are available to provide service within 24 hours if there are any problems. As the new owner, Danielle’s focus is on using technology and more efficient salt delivery routes to help keep water conditioning affordable in a challenging economic environment.
“Dani worked for me 16 years before I sold her the business,” Bill Maher said. “She wanted to work with the customers and try to wear all the hats in the company like her dad did.” He remarked that Danielle has expertise not only in Maher’s own equipment but also that of most of their competitors. “I think you can see why selling my business to her was the smartest move for me as well as one of my happiest decisions. One of her first decisions was to offer me a job, a clear example of her wisdom,” Bill Maher said.