Over the past decade, Fuller’s Ace Equipment Company has quietly grown from a three-person operation tucked into a corner of the old city shop building on Smith Avenue into a substantial manufacturer of high tech trash compactors and balers, with almost five times the number of employees.
“It has been very positive,” Fuller said. “We have grown substantially in employees and sales volume and this will be our biggest year by far.”
Ace recently celebrated a benchmark by sending out a massive compactor, the largest it has ever made, to a Grainger distribution center in Patterson, Calif.
“It was kind of unique and special to us,” Fuller said of the custom project.
The big compactor even has an automated cellular telephone system which can be used to check the level of trash in the unit. That allows the company to empty it only when necessary, saving on disposal costs.
“It talks to you,” Fuller said, joking that he hopes it doesn’t “phone home” to Wisconsin too often.
The project was guided by Bob Robinson, Ace’s plant supervisor, who came to the business after years in the automotive and metal-working field.
“He brings a lot of experience to the company,” Fuller said, explaining that Ace’s success is due to its great line-up of employees.
The custom work is a bonus but Ace’s bread and butter remains its line of compactors and balers, constructed one at a time, and all carrying the “Built Tuff” logo.
“We take great pride in every piece of equipment and are constantly developing new products,” Fuller said.
Units range from small compactors perfect for apartment complexes to six cubic yard machines designed to make short work of waste from supermarkets, restaurants, hospitals and schools to the big 40-yard octagonal compactor built for industrial, commercial, municipal and recycling operations. There are also vertical balers that will compress loads of cardboard into 60 x 30 x 48 inch bales weighing 4,850 pounds.
From its start in 1997 in an Aniwa shop, through its relocation to the city in 2000 and continued growth today, Fuller said the key to Ace’s success has been careful expansion and a conservative business attitude.
“There are a lot of positive things happening,” he said.