Bob in Business: Fort Worth attorney Blum draws lucky number for capitalists at Woodstock

Marvin Bloom knew he had won the lottery. But don’t call him and tell him a story about being a distant relative.

An estate planning attorney from Fort Worth’s The Blum Firm didn’t win the actual lottery, but he did earn the right to ask the first question from the station at Berkshire Hathaway’s 2023 annual meeting. That’s rare, at least for most people. For Blum, it’s the third time he’s been able to ask questions at an event he’s attended in 10 years.

Often referred to as the “Woodstock for capitalists,” the annual meeting is as much a celebration as it is a business meeting. Some attendees camp out late at night to get a good seat.

In the year Only about 12 people attended the 1965 stockholders meeting, but now as many as 50,000 flock to Omaha, Nebraska, a city of less than 500,000, to soak up pearls of folk business wisdom and some 99-year-old Charlie Munger. (Vice Chairman) and 92-year-old Warren Buffett (CEO and Chairman), the younger owner of famous brands such as GEICO, Duracell, Fruit of the Loom and Dairy Queen.

In fact, at the annual gathering, you can buy Dairy Queen ice cream, fruit t-shirts and underwear, Brooks shoes, Justin Boots, GEICO insurance, Pampered Chef cookware, chocolates from See’s and many more items from Berkshire. – Owned companies.

Like a rock festival, there are t-shirts — and underwear — emblazoned with the faces of Buffett and Munger. This year there were large pillow Buffett-themed Squishmallows, a company owned by Berkshire Hathaway. Blum said they sell more and more deli bars from Dairy Queen, one of Buffett’s favorite foods.

“This is my wife’s favorite part of the trip,” says Bloom.

This year’s meeting, on May 6, was broadcast live on CNBC, but it came down to a tough competition: the coronation of King Charles. Buffett joked that they have their own royalty, their own King Charles – his business partner Charlie Munger.

Blum likes to go to the event because Berkshire Hathaway has many interests in Fort Worth.

The stock, which sells for about $325, owns Congress, BNSF Railroad, Acme Brick, Justin Boots, TTI in Fort Worth and Moser Mansfield.

Blum gets a lucky first at bat by asking questions about state planning and Buffett’s famous thesis that he wants to leave his children “enough to be able to do anything, but not until they can do anything.”

“How much is that?” Bloom asked Buffett. he asked.

Buffett’s answer: “I think most of our children are spoiled by the character of their parents rather than the quantity of their inheritance.”

That was 10 years ago and now it’s more competitive to ask questions, especially because you’re taking them online, Bloom said.

About 10 microphone stations, or zones, were set up around the stage for his questions, and Bloom found himself in zone four. Participants who are interested in asking questions take half of the lottery ticket with the number on it and the other half goes into the box. Controllers in each zone select numbers from a box to determine the order of the questions.

This year, the inspector knew he was a winner when he handed Bloom the ticket.

“I looked down and said to the guy, ‘This is my year.’ I said, ‘I got this.’ And he looked at me and said, ‘How did you know that?’ ‘Because you gave me my lucky number,’ I said.

Bloom had number 18.

“In the Jewish religion, 18 is a very special number,” he said. “Eighteen actually refers to the word life. The Hebrew number 18 is represented by the letters Sheth (8) and Yud (10), which spells out the word ‘chai’ for the Hebrew word for ‘life’.”

In Jewish tradition, giving monetary gifts in multiples of 18 indicates long life expectancy.

So when the controller later released the number first, Blum was fully expecting it.

Former audience member Blum had already written the question. He knew how to do this because in the first year the question was thrown by the echo that was created on the stage.

He also wrote the question about the fear of standing in a room of about 40,000 people and being on live TV.

“That’s a lot of people watching you,” Bloom said. “I’m not shy, but that’s a big crowd, and it’s even bigger now on TV.”

He began the question by introducing himself as being from Fort Worth, “home to many of your companies.” He then mentioned meeting Buffett at a memorial for TTT founder and CEO Paul Andrews.

Electronics-component distributor TTI Inc. It is the third Fort Worth company acquired by a conglomerate, bought by Berkshire Hathaway in 2007. Andrews died in 2021 at the age of 78.

“I always like to mention Fort Worth because Warren loves Fort Worth,” he said. I think Omaha is a lot like Fort Worth and Warren likes Fort Worth because he has a lot of companies here.

Because most of the questions Buffett receives are about investing, Blum said that as an estate planner, he likes to ask questions about estate planning and inheritance.

Bloom’s question questioned Buffett’s view that many parents are not preparing the next generation for an inheritance, especially one that might include a family business.

Buffett had plenty of advice to offer. He said he would not sign the will until his three children had read it, understood it, and seen it.

“If the kids grow up and the will is read to them and the kids hear about it for the first time, I think the parents made a big mistake,” Buffett said.

Buffett said that in several cases that he knew, the children did not know what was in the will until it was read to them.

“Within 15 minutes, both sides had lawyers,” he said.

Buffett says that if you want your children to have values ​​that are important to you, you must live those values.

“They’re learning about it from you from the day they’re born,” he said. “Don’t think that a smart person can replace your own behavior by teaching your children the values ​​you hope they will have.”

Buffett then returned to TTI’s Andrews.

Andrews said he could have sold to another company at a higher price, but he wanted to take care of the group and knew Berkshire Hathaway would do that.

Blum was pleased, Buffett said of Andrews.

“Like Buffett, I think Andrews had those values,” Blum said. “For Paul, it wasn’t about the money. He wanted to take care of the people who worked for him. Buffett knew he wasn’t going to come in and raid the company. “These are the kinds of values ​​that Warren understands,” he said.

Blum will be back next year and the two capitalist giants are still offering art.

“Maybe I can ask another question,” he said. “I’ve been very lucky so far.”

New life for the public market

The long-vacant Fort Worth Public Market is getting new life. at 1400 S. Henderson St. The iconic building above opened in 1930 as one of three Public Market buildings in the South by original developer John J. Harden. The building was designed by B. Gaylord Noffsger of Oklahoma City and cost $150,000 to build, or about $2.7 million in 2023 dollars.

The site was used by local farmers, vendors and businesses and at one time housed 145 vendor shops and 30 permanent retail spaces. But the Great Depression took its toll on the public market, and it essentially closed in 1941. Then it was used for different purposes, but it started to be used. It remains empty, but its stunning architecture and stained glass windows have seen the building become a focus of historic preservation.

In the year It was purchased in 2012 by Fort Worth Energy executive Bob Simpson, who has bought and renovated several historic buildings, but sold it in 2014 to Cisco-based Wilkes Development.

Wilks Development plans to build a five-story high-rise that backs up to the main building and Interstate 30. There are also plans for a restaurant and office space in the main building. On its website, Wilkes Development touted the building’s proximity to downtown, the Cultural District and the Near South Side as key features.

The foundation stone of the project is on Tuesday, June 20, the 93rd anniversary of the first opening. Architecture firm BOKA Powell is working with Wilkes Development on the project. The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2024.

New drive-through brewing

7 Brewing is coming down to the location in Saginaw. (Photo courtesy | 7 Brewing)

7 Brew, a drive-thru coffee concept, is falling on Saginaw — literally. The construction crew has dropped the space for the future 7 Beers coffee stand at 604 S. Saginaw Blvd. Wednesday May 17th in preparation for the July opening. The Saginaw Boulevard stand will join the already open North Tarran Parkway stand as the second 7 Beer location in the greater Fort Worth area. As part of the launch, the company is donating $1,000 to Cook Children’s.

7 Brew started in Rogers, Arkansas, in 2016. The brand currently has more than 75 outlets across the country. The 7 Brew stand will add 50 jobs to the Saginaw area when it opens in July.

Got something for the Bob on Business column? Email Bob Francis at bob.francis@fortworthreport.orgBob Francis is business editor for The Fort Worth Report. Contact him at At The Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and funders. Read more about our editorial independence policy over here.

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