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Mad Millennium Money

While Y2K may pose a problem for some, certain entrepreneurs are finding millennium fever to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity--literally.

Grain

  • Bob's Red Mill Natural Foods Inc. in Milwaukie, Oregon, experienced a 50 percent increase in sales of bulk bags over the past six months.
  • The Grain Store (http://www.grainstore.com) has reaped sales of $500,000 this year--in only its first quarter of business.

Books

  • Amazon.com's Millennium Store counts home/safety guides like Making The Best of Basics: Family Preparedness Handbook (Gold Leaf) by James Talmage Stevens among its bestsellers.
  • At Lifeway Christian Resources, sales of books on prophecy and Y2K have tripled since last year.

Survival Products

  • Brigade Quartermasters reports a 500 percent increase in sales of military MREs (Meals Ready-To-Eat), a 300 percent increase in sales of water purification and storage products, a more than 300 percent increase in self-powered radios and lanterns, and a 50 percent increase in medical and survival kits through its catalog, retail outlet and Web site since October 1998.

Countdown Clocks

  • Government offices and corporations like IBM, CBS, General Motors and Pepsico are snapping up millennium desk clocks from Countdown Clocks International Inc. (http://www.countdownclock.com). Another 1.4 million or so consumers have purchased the clock--which counts down the day, hour and so on to 2000. The clock comes in customizable versions for between $6 and $30.

    Litigation

  • While retailers are profiting, other Y2K-related entrepreneurs may soon be losing money. Courts nationwide have seen a swelling of Y2K litigation: At press time, 62 Y2K lawsuits had been filed regarding alleged date processing problems, or improper consulting or professional advice about Y2K issues.

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This article was originally published in the July 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Mad Millennium Money.

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