In the small town of Quincy, Florida, just about 30 minutes outside of Tallahassee, there are rumored to be more millionaires per capita than any other place in America, at least there used to be. How did this small town, with only a population of 7,965 manage to accomplish this? The answer is simple … Coca-Cola!
According to Florida Backroads Travel and Joshua Kennon, the story goes that in the early 1920s and ’30s a banker by the name of Mark “Mr. Pat” Munroe, noticed that even during the worst times of the Great Depression, otherwise impoverished people would still spend their last nickel to buy a Coca-Cola. In 1919, Coca-Cola went public at $40 per share, but a conflict with the sugar industry and its bottlers resulted in a crash shortly thereafter, and it went down to $19 per share. Mr. Pat not only bought shares himself but encouraged the people of Quincy to invest, too. He would even lend money to depositors so they could buy the stock. Quincy quickly became the richest town per capita in the entire U.S. at the time. At least 67 “Coca-Cola millionaires” amassed significant fortunes before passing these on to children and grandchildren. The bank where it all started has Coca-Cola on display and, as of six years ago, a staggering 65 percent of the trust assets under management are still invested in Coke stock.
A single share purchased at $40 in 1919 with dividends reinvested is worth about $10 million in 2013. That’s just for one share! Had someone picked up a hundred shares for $1,900 to $4,000, depending on the purchase price, they’d be sitting on approximately a billion dollars! Talk about missed opportunities.