James P. Fritz

James P. Fritz

Class of 2005

Jim was born in Brainerd, MN, on May 6, 1940. After high school, he served four years in Korea, Japan and the Philippines as a sergeant in the Third Marine Division. He married Barbara in 1964 and they have three daughters, Elizabeth, Barbara and Victoria.

Jim has been involved in the family business, Fritz Co., Inc., for 46 years, where he served as chief executive officer at the time of his induction. The company was founded in Newport, MN, by his parents, Joe and Elizabeth, who were an important influence on Jim’s career. Founded in 1940, Fritz Co. has grown under Jim’s watchful eye from a basement operation to a 110,000-square-foot warehouse facility and packaging plant.

Active in the industry, he has served as a board member and president for the American Wholesale Marketers Association, and in 1998, was inducted into the AWMA Hall of Fame. He has also been on the boards of the National Candy Wholesalers Association, the National Association of Tobacco Distributors and the Minnesota Wholesale Marketers Association, where he was honored as Minnesota Wholesaler of the Year.

Although Jim fondly recalls the first truckload of product he sold to Woolworth, he says that when he looks back over his decades in the business, he realizes how many family candy companies no longer exist. As advice to those new to the business, Jim recommends to “sweat the little things” and take heart that “Everyone loves the candy man – or at least the candy!”

In his spare time he is an avid outdoorsman, enjoying golf, hunting and fishing. He also appreciates travel, reading and playing gin.

Jim passed away December 14, 2006.