(Bloomberg Business) — More than 40,000 people are expected Saturday at the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting, which marks Warren Buffett’s 50th year of running his company like a locomotive. The 200,000-square-foot exhibit hall at the CenturyLink Center will be packed with kiosks touting products and services from Berkshire-owned companies, from commemorative- edition ketchup bottles to manufactured homes.
But you don’t have to go to Omaha to see what Berkshire does. As your day planner shows, Buffett’s stuff is already a big part of your life. It’s kind of creepy.
Saturday, May 29 a.m.: Pay electric bill
Berkshire utility companies serve 11 states, including Iowa, Nevada, Oregon and Utah. Their power reaches about 8.4 million customers, from homes to food carts to ski resorts. “No utility company stretches further,” Buffett wrote in the 2014 annual report. He noted that Berkshire Hathaway Energy companies provide 6 percent of U.S. wind generation capacity and 7 percent of solar generation capacity, and deliver 8 percent of the national gas consumption in the U.S. through its two pipelines. Berkshire owns 89.9 percent of the business.
10 a.m.: Drive over to real estate agent to see a few places and plan open house
The car insurance: Geico insures more than 22 million vehicles and has more than 13 million auto policies in force in the U.S., where it is the second-largest private passenger auto insurer. It’s also the only property/casualty insurer that spends more than $1 billion annually on advertising, according to SNL Financial. The Geico gecko’s Q Score, a measure of how well consumers bond with public figures, is higher than that of Buffett himself, whose recognition rate is 43 percent; the gecko’s is 93 percent. Berkshire owns all of Geico.
The real estate firm: HomeServices of America is the second-largest residential real estate company in the U.S., with more than 20 brands in 20 states. Services include mortgage origination, title and closing services, property and casualty insurance, and home warranties. HomeServices is part of Berkshire Hathaway Energy. A related business, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, operates a franchise of real estate agents.
11 a.m.: Spruce up for open house, buy more paint, check carpets
The paint: Benjamin Moore & Co. sells its paints through more than 4,000 independent retailers in the U.S. Right now, it’s in the midst of its “most robust and ambitious” ad campaign ever, according to the company. (There is, of course, a Buffett Green.) Berkshire owns all of it.
The carpets: Shaw Industries Group is the largest maker of tufted broadloom carpet in the world. It sells all kinds of residential and commercial flooring throughout the 50 states, from hardwood to sports turf used in school and college fields, from Washington, D.C, to Montana. “Chances are extremely high that when walking in your home, going to your daily job, visiting your child’s school, attending a community function, going for a medical procedure,” (OK, we’re getting it) “shopping in a retail establishment, traveling through an airport, spending a night in a hotel, or enjoying a dinner out, that you are walking on a Shaw floor,” the company’s director of corporate communications, Susan Farris, noted. Berkshire owns all of it.