by Scott Ronalds

You’re hosting a BBQ with friends this evening. You’re in charge of the shopping, but are known to be easily distracted at the store. So your wife jots down a list, clear as day:

  • Burgers, smokies & buns
  • Plant-based options (burgers & dogs)
  • Cheese
  • Corn
  • Watermelon
  • Sunscreen
  • Batteries (AA, for garden lights and bug zapper)
  • White wine
  • Beer

Two stops – grocery store, liquor store – then Saturday is yours. You got this.

You pull into City Market and find a prime parking spot. Off to a good start. With mini shopping cart in tow, you start your mission. First up, the meat. You toss two packs of Schneiders Smokies and Maple Leaf Angus Beef Burgers into the cart. Anything else while you’re in this aisle? Out comes the list. Oh yeah, plant-based options and buns. Into the cart goes a pack of Lightlife Burgers and Smart Dogs, along with a dozen buns.

Over to the produce section, with a quick stop in the dairy aisle to grab cheese; Armstrong aged cheddar should do the trick. Two big watermelons and a dozen husks of corn are added to the bounty. Should’ve gone with the bigger cart, you think to yourself. Almost done though. Just a stop in the health & beauty aisle for sunscreen and home department for batteries. Uh oh, way more selection than you thought. You’ve seen Neutrogena around the house, so grab a bottle of SPF 30 (Ultra Sheer formula to win extra points with the wife), then buzz over to batteries for an 8-pack of Duracells. Finally, it’s through the cashier, into the car and off to the liquor store.

Promotions are abound as you walk down the wine aisle, but you remind yourself to focus on the task at hand — a nice, crisp chardonnay … wait, do you see what you think you see out of the corner of your eye? Limited edition bottles of Game of Thrones Johnnie Walker! Everyone at the BBQ will surely get a kick out of that, so you abandon the wine and grab a bottle of whiskey emblazoned with a dragon. Sticking with the cool label theme, a 12-pack of Landshark Lager goes under the other arm. Through the till you go, back to the car, and on your way home.

Ever-so-pleased with your shopping experience, you stop at the Timmies drive-thru and reward yourself with an Iced Cap. And some Timbits, obviously.

Mission accomplished. Your Visa got a workout, but you’ve got the makings of a successful evening with friends around the grill. It’s been a while, lockdown and all, and an outdoor social gathering is sure to be good for the soul. Turns out, it’s good for your portfolio too. Those shopping bags are full of Steadyhand businesses (all of which we own in the Founders Fund), and you just added to their top line.

First, there’s the ‘direct’ companies:

  • Loblaws (City Market)
  • Maple Leaf Foods (Schneiders and Litelife)
  • George Weston (buns)
  • Saputo (Armstrong cheese)
  • Johnson & Johnson (Neutrogena)
  • Waterloo Brewing (Landshark Lager)
  • Restaurant Brands International (Tim Hortons)
  • Visa
  • Disney and Zynga (not explicitly mentioned, but the kids will be entertained by a movie on Disney+ or a Zynga video game while the adults adult).

Next, the ‘indirect’:

  • Nutrien (one of the largest producers of potash and nitrogen fertilizers, which are key agricultural inputs for crops and produce such as corn and watermelons).
  • CCL Industries (a specialty packaging company and the largest label maker in the world. Its Wine & Spirits division makes pressure sensitive labels, shrink sleeves and innovative designs, including the Johnnie Walker Game of Thrones bottle).
  • Berkshire Hathaway (Warren Buffett’s conglomerate, which owns a number of consumer products companies, including Duracell).

Not that you needed further motivation to fire up the grill on a beautiful summer day, but now you’ve got it. Your portfolio will thank you.

PS: There’s a good chance you’ll have to go back to get the Chardonnay.