When Charlie Fritsch makes a sale, it’s usually a multimillion-dollar deal.
An MUM grad in 1978, Charlie 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, while guiding 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 sale price of $4.7 million. One property, a resort hotel in upstate New York, is valued at $23 million. In 2103 he expects to sell as many as 20 or more. And though his focus is largely in the U.S., he just returned from trips to Tunisia and Morocco, where he will broker additional hotel sales.
It might come as a surprise to learn that this successful businessman is also 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.
History at MUM runs deep in Charlie’s family. In fact, Fritsch family get-togethers can be akin to MUM alumni reunions. Three of his six children 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, 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 success in the business world. “‘Business was the last thing I wanted to study,” he says.
But his interest in the mind and in behavior did in fact translate to the business world. After a few courses at Essex Community College (where he met Jean), he came to MUM, then called MIU, and started to feel a pull toward entrepreneurship. He founded his first company with a partner in 1978, called Sunsprout Systems, which automated the growing of alfalfa sprouts in quantity. When the company was sold, it was valued at more than $1 million.
In 1984, Charlie tried out real estate — and found his niche. His first acquisition was the historic Albion hotel in Westminster, Maryland, which he renovated as an historic rehabilitation project (thus getting crucial tax credits) and converted it into apartments. The project was a success.
In 1995, he moved into commercial properties, selling his first Bed & Breakfast, which led to selling three hotels. In 1996, he earned a brokerage license and founded MBI Hotel Brokers, Inc., a company which today employs four associate brokers (who sell hotels), and one mortgage broker (who arranges financing).
“This business is not a hard sell, real-estate-agent-at-the-kitchen-table pressing someone to ‘sign here’ kind of thing,” he says. “It’s about being a trustworthy consultant to the seller, as well as helping the buyer put together all the components to make it happen. For me it’s about helping people realize their financial goals by maximizing value in the sale of their assets.”
Charlie gives credit to MUM for helping him find his niche in the business world. “My education at MUM gave me the confidence to strike out on my own and become an entrepreneur,” he says. “While knowledge of any specialty can be taught and learned, the intelligence to be balanced and fulfilled comes from within. That’s what MUM taught me.”
Written by Warren Goldie