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In Memoriam: Buffett the Businessman

The late Jimmy Buffett was one of pop music’s most successful entrepreneurs, building an empire that included Margaritaville-branded merchandise, restaurants and resorts that date back to 1985, drink mixes and even the 2018 Broadway musical, Escape to Margaritaville.

Earlier this year, Forbes estimated his net worth at $1 billion. The Margaritaville brand has expanded to clothing (yes, there are Margaritaville-branded flip-flops), home décor, pool floats and pickleball sets. In 2002, Buffett opened the first of his Cheeseburger in Paradise restaurants, which operated until 2020, with franchising through Outback Steakhouse.

His recordings and tours were estimated to top more than $570 million, and he held a vast collection of homes and airplanes, as well as shares of Berkshire Hathaway stock. While not related to legendary investor Warren Buffett, the two icons were longtime friends.

There’s also the Margaritaville at Sea cruise line out of the Port of Palm Beach, casinos, video games and a beer partnership with Anheuser-Busch, in addition to Margaritaville-branded retirement communities in Florida, South Carolina and Texas.

“Who knew people wanted to live in Margaritaville?” he told The New Yorker. Buffett was at his home in Sag Harbor, N.Y. (he also owned homes in Palm Beach and St. Barts) when he died in September at the age of 76 from a rare form of skin cancer.