For burger baron Carl N. Karcher, the past week was bittersweet.
On Monday, Karcher was in New York to celebrate Carl Karcher Enterprises’ switch to the New York Stock Exchange from the Nasdaq market. “It was a historical moment for me,” said Karcher, founder of the Carl’s Jr. fast-food chain. “And to think, we bought the first hot-dog cart just about 50 years ago.”
Karcher had breakfast on Monday with NYSE Chairman William Donaldson and then purchased the first 100 shares of Karcher Enterprises shares to trade on the exchange. Karcher Enterprises’ shares are now trading under the symbol CKR. The stock had traded as CARL on Nasdaq. Though Karcher Enterprises shares fell by 12.5 cents on Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 54 points. “We brought up the whole market,” Karcher said with a grin.
Karcher returned to Anaheim Tuesday, and on Wednesday he attended funeral services for former President Richard Nixon in Yorba Linda.
Carl and his wife, Margaret, met Richard and Pat Nixon during the 1940s, when Nixon was campaigning for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Karcher, who was establishing himself as a restaurateur, knew the Nixon family as the owners of restaurants in Whittier and Anaheim.
“His brother, Don, ran (the Whittier restaurant) and their mother worked there,” Karcher said of Nixon. “We went there to eat several times. It was a family-type restaurant with good food.”
The Karcher and Nixon families’ mutual interests extended to politics. “I always admired him for the fact that he took a strong position against communism,” Karcher said. “It’s amazing what’s happened in the world from back then to now.”
Karcher occasionally visited with the Nixons at their “Western White House” in San Clemente. Once, Karcher brought along two priests from Orange County who gave Nixon some artifacts.
When it was time to leave, the priests put on their coats--which were adorned with “I Voted for Nixon” buttons. “The President, he loved that,” Karcher said.
Karcher last saw the former President at the Nixon Library on Jan. 20 during a 25th anniversary celebration of Nixon’s presidential inauguration. “I had my picture taken with him, and he autographed some things,” Karcher said. “And he said, as he always did, to keep the flag (at Carl Karcher Enterprises’ Anaheim headquarters) flying.”