There’s excellent news for the Berkshire Hathaway shareholders that like to shop at the annual meeting. For the first time in its history, the CenturyLink Center Omaha (in the exhibition hall) will open for business on Friday afternoon, prior to the meeting, and it will also stay open on Saturday during the meeting on May 2.
For this year, the special bargain item that is going to be incredibly hot, according to Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway’s chairman is: a commemorative book that marks the day that he purchased the New England textile company known as Berkshire Hathaway 50 years ago.
The book will present information from the 19th century, historic photos of Berkshire Hathaway, key document reproduction as well as other features, according to Buffett. “It’ll have a whole bunch of things that I think people will find interesting.”
The catch: this book is only going to be available at the annual meeting – and if you are an enterprising shareholder you could auction off copies on the Internet.
“We’ll lose money on it,” said Buffett. “It’ll be almost free,” with the price range possibly costing five dollars, even though it’s going to cost more for printing.
During the annual shareholders meeting every year, dozens of the Berkshire Hathaway companies display their services and goods in the exhibition hall. At meetings in the past, where attendance was more than 35,000 people, the meeting hall would be open from 7 AM until the evening.
Ultimately, this means that shareholders are going to have to hurry in order to make purchases prior to the meeting, which takes place in an area adjacent to the hall, or walk away during the middle of the meeting in order to get to the booths. The companies will spend a number of days putting together their displays, only to take them down about 10 hours after they open them up.
The additional hours on Friday will relax the scramble.
“That’ll enable people to get around easier than just having it on Saturday,” said Buffett. “The more people we get, the more business we get. We will pick up sales, but the flow of traffic will be better, too.”
Buffett intends to take his usual tour of the booths in the morning on Saturday, prior to the start of the meetings.
“I do not expect to be there on Friday afternoon,” said Buffett, “although I may not be able to resist the temptation to take a peek just to see how it’s going.”