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In 1923, looking bankruptcy in the face, the Packers became a non-profit corporation with 400 shareholders, townspeople. Lest you think this is a quaint, historical anomaly that couldn’t happen today, the Packers last stock sale — 1997-98 — brought in 106,000 new shareholders and raised $24 million. Their shares don’t trade, pay no dividends, can only be sold back to the company for a fraction of their purchase price and don’t give the owners a break on tickets. Yet, shares are owned by people in all 50 states and several foreign countries.
Why do people buy them? Believe it or not, pride of ownership.
History may be offering us a unique opportunity. Companies are strapped, credit is tight, buyers are few. What if the collective “we” could organize a bid for Whistler-Blackcomb? Imagine the publicity. Imagine the firestorm of pride across Canada, among our American Friends of Whistler, the hopelessly addicted from the UK, Australia and elsewhere in the world who love to come to this place. Collectively, we may be able to do what companies can’t do in this market. Collectively, we may be able to secure our future and keep the corporate sharks swimming elsewhere.
A pipedream? Maybe. But if we’re going to dream, let’s dream big. Maybe this opportunity won’t materialize. Maybe it will. Maybe some of you with biz and finance smarts would like to explore this pipedream with me. You know how to reach me. Ain’t no time like right now to be dreamin’ big.