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🠈  Colorado Milling and Elevator Co.  🠊

Colorado Milling and Elevator Co.

I came across a article reminiscing about Shakey's Pizza. The article did not say what happened to the chain. I decided to look up the story. The chain was purchased by Colorado Milling and Elevator Company (CME).

Why would a company that makes elevators buy a pizza chain?

So, I decided to research CME online and failed to find adequate information about its rise and fall.

The company was founded by a hard working Irish Immigrant John Kernan Mullen (1847 – 1929) who worked in grain mills and eventually bought their firm and acquired additional grain mills. Farmers were upset with wild fluctuations in the price of grain. The firm established a trust to help control the prices of grain. As owner of a trust, he became immensely wealthy. Mullen spent much of his fortune on local charities as seen in the video.

The decline of the firm came in the late 1900s when ambitious financiers tried turning the company into a conglomerate.

Some lay the decline on an ambitious CEO named William White. I suspect that the avarice of financiers also played a role. CME acquired Great Western Sugar and formed a holding company called Great Western Corporation. GW made other acquisitions including Shakey's Pizza.

The Federal Government deregulated sugar and flour which led to a drop in prices and profits. The conglomerate was overextended. The financiers exercised their preferred stock and the company was left in ruins.

The Hunt Brothers bought Great Western. Meanwhile the Hunt Brothers took a stab at cornering the silver market. Their efforts failed on Silver Thursday. The sharp decline in silver prices for the Hunt brothers to liquidate their assets.

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