In 1870 he formed the business partnership of Leverett, Frye, and Scholding, opening the first of a chain of grocery stores in Greenwich. Frye took sole control of the company in 1880. In 1892 the business was renamed Leverett & Frye, and by 1894, when it became a limited company, it had 50 stores in England and Ireland, concentrating on opening shops in newly developed suburbs. Frye became president of the Metropolitan Grocers Association and in 1891 helped found the Federation of Grocer's Associations of the United Kingdom.
Frye was a progressive employer, operating a profit-sharing scheme with his employees and was on the Radical wing of the Liberal Party.  He became a member of the Metropolitan Board of Works, and in 1889 was elected to the first London County Council as a Progressive Party councillor representing North Kensington.
He stepped down from the council at the 1892 elections, having been nominated as Liberal candidate to contest the parliamentary seat of Kensington North. He was elected at the general election held later that year, serving one term in the House of Commons as a member of parliament before losing his seat in the next general election in 1895. His family faced financial problems in 1911. In 1912 his home and all its contents were auctioned.
- Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "K" (part 1)
- Aubrey, J S (1910). The Grocery Trade, its History and Romance, Vol.II. London: Duckworth & Co. pp. 241–242, 261–262.
- "No. 26344". The London Gazette. 14 October 1892. p. 5761.
- Emy, Hugh Vincent (1973). Liberals, Radicals, and Social Politics, 1892-1914. CUP Archive. p. 50. ISBN 9780521087407.
f. c. frye.
- "Wills and Bequests". The Times. 3 July 1914. p. 11.
- "The County Councils - London Polls". The Times. 18 January 1889. p. 9.
- "Campaigning for the Vote: Kate Parry Frye's Suffrage Diary Edited by Elizabeth C". Francis Boutle Publishers. Retrieved 21 November 2017.
- "Campaigning for the Vote: Kate Frye And The Problem Of The Diarist's Multiple Roles". Woman and her Sphere. 7 May 2013. Retrieved 21 November 2017.
- Register of Deaths, East Preston Registration District 1Q 1914, Vol.2b p.497
- "No. 28846". The London Gazette. 3 July 1914. p. 5230.
- Elizabeth Crawford, ‘ Frye, Katharine Parry (1878–1959)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Sept 2014 accessed 21 Nov 2017
For more about Frederick Frye and his family see E. Crawford (ed), Campaigning for the Vote: The Suffrage Diary of Kate Parry Frye, Francis Boutle, 2013.