Vendors appeal to Berkshire shareholders' serious and silly sides

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Posted: Saturday, May 3, 2014 12:00 am | Updated: 1:51 am, Tue May 20, 2014.

The Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting just wouldn't be the same without lots of things to buy, so bring your credentials and your wallet.

The 194,300-square-foot hall that adjoins the meeting area will be, as always, filled with booths displaying or offering products from dozens of Berkshire Hathaway companies, including shoes, candy, toys, jewelry and boxer shorts.

Shareholders last year snapped up 1,062 pairs of Justin boots, 12,792 pounds of See's candy, 11,162 Quikut knives and 6,344 pairs of Wells Lamont gloves in just nine hours, according to the 2013 Berkshire Hathaway annual report.

Berkshire Live

Live coverage: Our live chat begins at 7:30 a.m. and continues through the question-and-answer session with Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger. At 5 p.m., join a post-meeting chat with World-Herald Berkshire Hathaway reporter Steve Jordon.

Among the offerings this year:

>> Berkshire Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett will toss things before the official meeting starts: Newspapers at the front porch of a Clayton Homes house, and baseballs between the Justin Brands and H.H. Brown booths, where he will try to out-pitch members of the Omaha Storm Chasers AAA baseball team.

>> Among the boots at Justin's: Exclusive black cherry caiman leather boots with black cowhide uppers.

>> The Bookworm, an Omaha bookstore at 87th and Pacific Streets: It isn't owned by Berkshire Hathaway, but it's had a presence at the shareholders meetings since 1986, “when they were much smaller,” said Beth Black, who co-owns the store with husband Phillip.

This year, as in previous years, the bookstore will offer shareholders a 20 percent discount on most items. And anything sold at the meeting “has to be OK'd by Mr. Buffett,” Beth Black said. “We try to get him a list of titles in January and he crosses off what he doesn't want us to carry.”

Here's what's new this year:

“Berkshire Hathaway Letters to Shareholders” by Max Olson, new edition; “Buffett's Bites” by L.J. Rittenhouse, new edition; “Damn Right!” by Janet Lowe, new price; “Dream Big” by Cris Correa, new; “Forty Chances: Finding Hope in a Hungry World” by Howard G. Buffett, new; “Of Permanent Value” by Andrew Kilpatrick, new edition;

“Secret Millionaires Club” by Andy and Amy Heyward, new; “Security Analysis” by Benjamin Graham, sixth edition; “Strategic Value Investing” by Stephen Horan, Robert Johnson and Thomas Robinson, new; “Tap Dancing to Work” by Carol Loomis, new edition; “Warren Buffett on Business” by Richard Connors, new edition; “Warren Buffett Way” by Robert Hagstrom, new edition; “Warren Buffett: An Illustrated Biography” by Ayano Morio, new price.

Howard G. Buffett, a son of Warren's, is expected to sign copies of “Finding Hope in a Hungry World,” sometime during the morning at the Bookworm's booth.

The Bookworm sells thousands of books at the event.“It's like Christmas in one day,” Black said. “So many investors want to know what he and Charlie (Munger) are reading.”

>> Brooks running shoe and apparel company: Only a couple thousand limited edition Berkshire Hathaway Transcend commemorative running shoe will be sold at the meeting.

The company also is presenting the Berkshire Hathaway Invest in Yourself 5K on Sunday in conjunction with the annual meeting, offering prizes for the largest and fastest company teams and a special finisher medal as well as race T-shirts.

>> Business Wire will sell commemorative pennants to raise money for a local charity that benefits abused and neglected children within the court system. This year's 2014 Berkshire Hathaway Sluggers baseball pennant sells for $7, or two for $10. All proceeds go to Court Appointed Special Advocates for Douglas County, Neb.

>> Fruit of the Loom: The 2014 Berky Boxer, commemorative unisex shorts. Pair it with the $6 2014 Berky Tee, featuring the wisdom of Warren and Charlie.

>> Geico: In most cases shareholders will be eligible for an 8 percent discount. Bring details of existing insurance and the staff will check for discounts.

>> NetJets: If you're searching for a new set of wings and wheels, visit Signature Flight Support on the east side of Eppley Airfield between noon and 5 p.m. Saturday to look at a fleet of NetJets aircraft. A shuttle will run from the CenturyLink Center Omaha.

>> Oriental Trading will offer limited-edition “Warren & Charlie Fiesta Ducks” for $5 a pair and a Berkshire Hathaway limited edition of MindWare's board game Qwirkle for $20.

>> See’s Candies’ goodies will include a limited-edition, 8-ounce box of candy made just for the annual meeting. For those interested in something heavier, the company will display a 7-foot-tall, 7,003-pound lollipop — a replica of the world’s largest-ever, as certified by Guinness World Records in 2012.

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