||Name: Charlie Fritch
MUM Degree: BA, Psychology, 1978
Position: Owner, MBA Hotel Brokers, Inc.
U.S. States He's Sold Hotels in: 26
Home: Glenwood, Maryland
Board Member: Hotel Brokers International (12+ years, including a year as President)
Children with Degrees from MUM: 3 (and 1 attending now)
When Charlie Fritch makes a sale, it’s usually a multimillion-dollar deal.
Charlie, an MUM grad in 1978, is owner and Chief Executive Officer of MBA Hotel Brokers, a commercial real estate firm that brokers the sale of hotels. Hotel brokers find, list, and sell hotels, and then guide buyers and sellers through the myriad of details necessary to complete the transaction.
And Charlie is very good at it. Last year alone, Charlie and his company sold 12 hotels at an average price of $4.7 million each. This year he expects to sell as many as 20 more. One of his properties, a resort hotel in upstate New York, is valued at $23 million. And though his focus is largely in the U.S., he just returned from trips to Tunisia and Morocco, where he will broker even more hotel sales.
It might come as a surprise that this successful businessman also has been a passionate teacher of the Transcendental Meditation technique. A native of the Baltimore area, Charlie became a TM teacher in 1973 and has taught the technique to more than 100 people.
An MUM Family Affair
Charlie isn't the only MUM graduate in his family. In fact, Fritch family get-togethers can be a little like MUM alumni reunions. Three of his six children have graduated from MUM. Carrie (photo, far left), earned a BS in Chemistry and Biology, Elisa (middle) holds a BA in Literature and Writing, and Jaime (far right) earned a BA in Business and Sustainable Living. Charlie's wife, Jean, stands beside him in the back row. Daughter Pia (second from right) is currently enrolled at MUM, and is on track for a BA in Fine Arts.
“Awakening the genius within is MUM’s specialty,” says Charlie. “I wanted my children to experience that.”
Back when he was deciding on a college major, Charlie was most interested in psychology and spiritual development, and had no idea he would eventually find big success in the business world. "'Business was the last thing I wanted to study," he says.
But his interest in the mind and behavior did in fact translate to the business world. After he took courses at Essex Community College (where he met Jean) and then earned a BA at MUM (then called MIU), he felt a strong pull toward entrepreneurship. He started his first company with a partner in 1978, called Sunsprout Systems, which automated the growing of alfalfa sprouts in large quantities. When they sold the company it was valued at more than $1 million.
From Entrepreneur to Owner of a Thriving Business
In 1984, he decided to try out real estate — and found his niche. He bought the historic Albion hotel in Westminster, Maryland, renovated it as an historic rehabilitation project (thus getting crucial tax credits), and then converted it into apartments. The project was a success.
In 1995, he decided to try his hand at selling commercial properties, and sold his first bed & breakfast unit, which led to selling three hotels. In 1996, he earned a brokerage license and founded MBI Hotel Brokers, Inc.. Today, the company employs four associate brokers who list and sell hotels, and one mortgage broker who arranges financing.
“It’s not the kind of hard-sell, real-estate-agent-at-the-kitchen-table pressing someone to ‘sign here’,” he says. “It’s more about being a consultant to the seller as well as helping the buyer put together all the components to make it happen. It’s helping people realize their financial goals through maximizing value in the sale of their assets.”
Charlie gives credit to MUM for helping him find his niche in the business world. “I would say that my education at MUM gave me the confidence to strike out on my own and be an entrepreneur,” he says. “While knowledge of any specialty can be taught and learned, the intelligence to be balanced and fulfilled must come from within. That's what MUM did for me.”
Photo above: Country Inn & Suites, Linthicum, MD, sold in 2012 by MBA Hotel Brokers