By Lauren Comander
When Ted Frumkin (MBA '91) graduated college with a degree in fine arts, he thought he would settle into a career in advertising and commercial design. But the job market was tough, and he eventually found work as the franchise sales manager for a golf and tennis shop. One of his first assignments: fly to Memphis – a city he'd never visited – and help aspiring franchise owners pick a site.
"I had no idea what to do, but near the end of the day, we pulled up to a site and my gut told me it was the one," he recalled. "I led with confidence and told them we'd found their site. It ended up becoming a successful store for them." One year later, Frumkin had sold a dozen franchises and knew he'd found his calling.
Since that first year, he has closed hundreds of deals spanning all 50 states and Canada for companies like Walmart, Staples and Sprouts Farmers Market.
Most recently, he's taken on the role of group vice president of Real Estate Development and Construction at The Fresh Market. "It's exciting to take a brand that's highly respected and get it growing again," he said. "We take care of our customers, and they take care of us. It's that simple."
The ability to find talent and grow talent is way more important to me than all the deals I've done in my life.
Frumkin credits FIU Business for much of his success. While continuing to work full time, Frumkin spent four years taking night classes to earn his MBA. "Everything I learned at school, I've been able to apply to work," he said.
He also credits his father, who has enjoyed a long career in retail real estate development. "Learning from your dad is tough, man," Frumkin said. "But to this day, I've told him over and over that I'm successful in my career because I had a mentor who cared enough about me."
Now he is paying that forward, not only to his daughter who has entered the real estate sphere, but to those who work for him. "The ability to find talent and grow talent is way more important to me than all the deals I've done in my life," said Frumkin. While he acknowledges the professional satisfaction of leading the company's expansion, "building and growing talent – that's where the impact is!"
He and his wife live in Scottsdale, Arizona. While there is no Fresh Market nearby at the moment, he feels fortunate to travel to the stores regularly. And Frumkin never leaves a store without a small bag of Swedish fish and the homemade rotisserie chicken salad.