Published Online: December 6, 2000
Published in Print: December 6, 2000, as Take Note

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Ready to Rock

Ron Parsons, the director of the band at Danvers (Mass.) High School, is breathing a bit easier these days, knowing his band's uniforms will arrive in time for the performance opportunity of a lifetime.

The band was chosen to be one of 11 high school bands to play in the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, Calif., on New Year's Day.

But after the San Antonio company that was manufacturing the uniforms was closed, the parade seemed to be in jeopardy. The expected uniforms had already been approved for use in the parade.

A subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, the holding company owned by the billionaire investor Warren E. Buffett, made the decision to close the Fechheimer Band Uniform Co. Company executives promised the uniforms would be finished, but in mid-October, when Mr. Parsons called to check on their status, the company said that it would not be able to make them after all.

Mr. Parsons found himself searching for a company that would produce 166 uniforms in just two months, roughly half the time usually needed for an order that size. Finally, DeMoulin Brothers & Co. of Greenville, Ill., stepped in.

Mr. Parsons spoke with the president of the company, who knew of the band's dilemma. He agreed to make the uniforms for a slightly higher price and to ship them overnight .

The uniforms are scheduled to arrive Dec. 22, leaving 48 hours to tailor them before they must be shipped for the parade.

A Danvers resident and Berkshire Hathaway shareholder who had heard about the band's plight wrote, meanwhile, to Mr. Buffett, who called Mr. Parsons to apologize. Mr. Buffett also offered to pay the cost difference and cover the costs of shipping the uniforms.

Mr. Parsons said he was "really appreciative" of Mr. Buffett's apology. But "the big hero in all of this is DeMoulin Brothers, because they stepped in and said, 'We're going to do it, and we're going to do it in half the time.'"

—Vanessa Dea

Vol. 20, Issue 14, Page 3

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