New Wave


In an era when business concepts seem to get more complicated every day, discovering an enterprise based on such a simple product is, well, refreshing. "We don't have any product waste, and there are no styles to go out of date," says Julie Chaves, who co-owns Drinking Water Depot in Canoga Park, California, with her husband, Joe.

What makes water a hot seller? One reason is consumers' continuing emphasis on value. However well the economy is growing, everyone's always looking to save a buck.

Another important factor is health consciousness. Water isn't fattening, alcoholic or loaded with caffeine. Dieters and fitness buffs are urged to drink two quarts or more of water daily to help the body function properly. That means high per-capita consumption and a desire for water that tastes pure.

The key word here, of course, is "pure." For water to be absolutely healthy, it should be free of carcinogens, minerals, chlorine and bacterial critters. Water retailers don't accuse municipal water supplies of outright contamination. But they do note that bad-smelling, bad-tasting, suspicious-looking tap water isn't exactly uncommon.

How is water-store water difference? Though the purification process varies among stores, most employ rigorous filtration and reverse osmosis systems to remove virtually all foreign particles. Bozin, for instance, reckons his local tap water contains about 450 parts per million total dissolved solids. After processing, the Watermarket's water contains only four to five parts per million.

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This article was originally published in the January 1997 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: New Wave.

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