Fresh from the University of Minnesota with a newly printed CPA certificate, Charlie Gerretson arrived in Denver, Colorado in the winter of 1969. A job at the prestigious public accounting firm Arthur Anderson, and a love of skiing, brought the bright young man to the mile high city. He quickly established himself as a rising star within the firm excelling in trust auditing and real estate tax. He settled in the Capitol Hill neighborhood and purchased a home at the corner of 13th and Ogden as soon as he was able. His love of historic central Denver has never wavered. During his early days, there were several roommates, and a few parties. The news of those parties soon made its way to the professional side of Charlie’s life. One day, a senior partner at the Denver office summoned Charlie to his office to confront him about a rumor of “homosexual activity” at his home. When Charlie didn’t deny it, an offer to “get him help” (an offer that compared Charlie to his developmentally disabled daughter) lead to a decision to leave the firm. Never a quitter, Charlie landed a job at a smaller local accountant’s firm soon thereafter.
Accounting wasn’t Charlie’s calling. Through his experience he came to know and love real estate and, specifically, real estate taxation shelters. He continued to work the field eventually ended his accounting days at the firm Gerretson, Walker &Co, all the while amassing clients that he aided in real estate investing. With his accounting days waning, he took a stab at construction/ development and with partners created Cinnamin Courtyard Homes, which was followed by Cinnamin Down the Street. By 1974 he founded Gerretson Realty. The new company opened an office in the the same central neighborhood that he had called home since his arrival in Colorado. Long before there was a movement towards safe work environments, Gerretson Realty provided a work place for everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, to build their own business at a reasonable cost and without fear of judgment for themselves and their clients.
Along the way, and over the course of years, Gerretson Realty attracted realtors from all walks of life and stages of their careers. In the mid 80’s Charlie met a bright young realtor who lived in the same historic condominium building, The Perrenoud. Christina Hart Lammermann became a life long friend and joined Gerretson Realty in the early 90s. She became a partner in the firm in the ensuing years and retired in 2019.
The two friends will tell you that real estate didn’t beget their best negotiation, however. Early in their friendship Charlie wanted to introduce her to his “little brother” (from the Big Bothers program). After initially avoiding many dinner invitations and then reluctantly accepting, she finally met his “little brother”. Charlie was right! The attraction was instant. In 1986 Christina married that young man, Steve Lammermann.
Throughout its nearly half century as business leader, Gerretson Realty has been a sponsor for numerous local LGBTQ charity events, provided donations to non-profit organizations, and, most importantly, served as a place where entrepreneurs in real estate could establish their careers free of judgement, in the safety of a company designed to support them.
Today Gerretson Realty is owned and operated by John Wyszinski who joined the company as a partner at the turn of the century.