OMAHA, Neb. -- The record turnout expected for Berkshire Hathaway's shareholders meeting will bring an economic boost to the city of Omaha.The city is expecting people from all over the world to come spend money in restaurants, hotels and local businesses, especially those under the Berkshire Hathaway umbrella."They're going to have more people here than ever, and that's just the testament to Warren Buffett," said Bob Batt of Nebraska Furniture Mart.
Buffett and his stockholder meeting get a lot of attention even in good times. The recession has sparked even more interest in what the Oracle of Omaha has to say."They have released 35,000 credentials this year. That is up from last year. In fact, that's 10,000 more than we had two years ago," said Dana Markel of the Omaha Convention and Visitor's Bureau.Now in its 26th year, the Woodstock of capitalism is out in full force to capture consumers, even in bleak times."These last nine months have been the biggest challenge to our economy and our business that we have ever seen," Batt said.
Berkshire Hathaway stocks are down and spending has slowed. But the Buffett name still means gold to many people."He is the ultimate in financial intelligence, so consequently, it attracts people," Batt said. "Omaha is on the map this week."The city of Omaha will reap the revenue from the meeting, especially with a large number of international travelers expected."The rooms are running short and the restaurants are gearing up," said Markel."It's not only good for us, it's good for all of Omaha," Batt said.Berkshire Hathaway does not plan to release its first-quarter earnings report during the meeting. It instead plans to make the announcement after it ends, on May 8.
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