Our company’s history

CSM Corporation began modestly when Gary Holmes — CSM’s president and CEO — started selling light bulbs door-to-door in Minneapolis at the tender age of 12. A young entrepreneur, Gary enlisted his Boy Scout troop as a sales force. By age 14, he had earned enough from his light bulb sales to buy his first real estate asset: a set of Minneapolis duplexes.


In 1976 Gary’s first company, Colonial Apartments, became Colonial Services and Management. He later evolved it into CSM Corporation.

Gary continued to grow CSM Corporation, and over the years began acquiring, developing and renovating residential, commercial, and industrial properties across the country. CSM’s one-million-square-foot commercial property portfolio grew to more than eight million by 2008, and the residential portfolio increased to more than 3,100 units.

CSM entered the hotel industry in 1992, acquiring and renovating a former Howard Johnson’s into a Country Inn by Carlson. Since then CSM has gone on to acquire, build, and manage hotels for some of the nation’s most prestigious brands.

In its 40 years of operation, CSM has built, acquired or redeveloped 216 properties across 16 states, including more than 13.5 million square feet of commercial space, 6,600 hotel rooms and 6,100 apartment/townhome units. CSM’s four decades of success are built on a company-wide commitment to treating customers and associates with integrity and respect, and for long-term dedication to its properties and host communities.


“I’m very proud of my small contribution to the growth in the CSM commercial portfolio from less than a dozen properties in 1987 to almost 100 commercial properties today.” #IAmCSM

– Bruce Carland, Director of Commercial Leasing