The Ace story begins in Rochester, Minnesota when John U. Steiner purchased a 1946 Ford truck. The truck was first used to haul corn to the Twin Cities and apples from Bayfield, Wisconsin to Rochester. During idle times, it was used to haul furniture and household goods for area residents who were moving. In 1947, the fledgling venture submitted a bid on its first long-distance move from Rochester to Iowa. To qualify, Ace became an agent of a national van line with authority to cross state lines. The bid was accepted. Ace's first interstate move grossed a grand total of $150. John's brother, Fred Steiner, joined the company in 1950 after serving in the military. Two years later the company landed its first military contract to transport household goods for military families who were being stationed overseas. Many of these families lived in Wisconsin and northern Illinois. To provide better service, the Steiner brothers opened a small office in the Milwaukee home of their sister, Margaret Johannes.
From the start, the Milwaukee operation provided storage as well as hauling services. To meet the growing demand, a warehouse and office building was constructed, and by 1956, Ace's operational headquarters were moved from Rochester to its current Milwaukee site. In 1964, Ace entered the information age when Control Data/Univac approached the company about shipping data processing equipment. In those early years of computer technology, the equipment was heavy, bulky and extremely fragile. Commercial cartage had proven unsatisfactory because of excessive damage. Ace's experience in moving delicate and valuable household items was the key to its successful expansion into commercial shipping. Commercial shipping led to the need for an Ace facility in the Minneapolis, St. Paul area.
At the same time, Ace broadened its range of services still further by becoming an agent of Atlas, one of the nation's largest and most respected interstate movers. Operations continued to grow throughout the 1970's and 1980's. To serve the distribution needs of specific customers, new offices were opened around the country. At each location, the full range of Ace services was offered to the local market, broadening the customer base served by the companies.