I finally made in to Omaha. Unfortunately I missed my connecting flight in Denver due to inclement weather and was informed that I’d have to spend the night there. Luckily I was able to track down a high-school friend of mine and catch with her after nearly 15 years. Of course with the 1 hour commute each way and my early morning flight, there wasn’t much time to catch-up or sleep, but if it hadn’t been for the sudden snow storm, I probably wouldn’t have seen her or her artist boyfriend for another 5 years!
This year there’s an estimated 27,000 Berkshire shareholders descending on the town of Omaha (population of approximately 400,000). The place is swarming with visitors. i went to the Borshiems Cocktail Reception which was a mall that was closed off to regular visitors and opened only to shareholders. It featured live music, food and a huge selection of alcohol. It was completely packed to the seams.
Borshiems is a famous jewelery store that is reportedly number 2, after Tiffany’s, in sales volume. Most of the other shops in the mall were also open but compared to Borshiems, they hardly had any traffic. All Shareholders get huge discounts at Borshiems this weekend. I believe its in the 25% range for jewelery, watches and other knick-knacks. Check out the jewel encrusted purses below. Yes, the piglet and the tomato are purses! Also notice the black purse in the background. It has a silver colored snake on it1
I started talking to one of the local shareholders and he offered me a small tour of the city. We swung by Warren Buffett’s house. Not only is it not the largest house on Farnam street, but there isn’t even a gate. I could’ve pretty much walked up the front door and rang the door bell. Here’s a picture. It was not very well lit so the picture is pretty dark.
Buffett reportedly bought it for about $31,500 back in 1958. Today it’s worth about $750,000. I saw a really nice colonial house 2 blocks from there for sale for $299,000.
I also swung by the local Dairy Queen “Restaurant” – I wasn’t aware that they sold non-dairy products like hamburgers and hotdogs. It was totally packed with shareholders trying to get a free icecream cone. There was also Paul Larson, editor of Morningstar (and formally the Motley Fool) handing out free StockInvestor newsletter copies too.
Well, tomorrow is the big day – its the Annual Shareholder meeting itself! Hopefully, I’ll be able to get a taxi to the Qwest Center without any problem