What began in the late 70’s as a father’s basement hobby in Central Illinois is now in its 30th year a successful, mid-sized developer and vendor of dealership management systems. Gerry Fricke, who tinkered with software development as a hobby, officially started Charter Software in 1984 with the introduction of PC-General Ledger, a DOS-based accounting software program.
In 1984, Gerry Fricke, who had been tinkering with software development as a hobby, customized his DOS-based accounting software, PC-General Ledger to meet the specific needs of equipment dealers.
In 1996, when Fricke’s daughter, Anne Salemo, acquired the company, she set forth to realize her vision to migrate from a DOS-based system for equipment dealers to a full-blown Windows-based business system for equipment dealerships. The result was the launch of DealerWin, Charter's first Windows product.
In the summer of Charter’s 30th year, the company expanded their corporate headquarters and manpower to increase their ability to service the steadily growing number of dealerships using ASPEN. With a 1200 foot addition in office space, Charter now occupies a suite of approximately 6,000 square feet. The Charter team is comprised of about 30 individuals, and includes the recent additions of a new Director of IT and Development, Customer Support Manager, Business Development Administrator, and Director of Sales/Marketing.
Under the guidance of Rick Retherford, Charter’s new Director IT and Development, the company will continue to explore and implement enhancements to the performance and productivity of their ASPEN software. “I see great potential in the ASPEN product, and I’m excited to take on this role of bringing Charter’s products to the next level,” says Retherford.
President Anne Salemo attributes the company’s success largely to the strong relationships with its customers. “Meeting their needs is what keeps us going,” she says. “As we continue to expand our services to grow along with the industry, we’ll always work to improve our processes and strengthen the relationships we’ve built with our customers over the years. That will always define us no matter how large we grow,” she says.