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Business Buzz

Time for a bit of fresh air-literally. Now that bottled water is no longer the luxury item it once was, perhaps the health-conscious masses are ready to take the next step and pay for-gulp!-oxygen.

"We're the bar of the 21st century," proclaims Lissa Charron of the Toronto oxygen bar she and partner Shamila Hunter, 33, launched in March. "These [bars] should be like Starbucks: They should be everywhere and [sell their offerings] for an affordable price."

An oxygen bar? Take a deep breath, and we'll explain. At O2 Spa Bar, patrons pay $16 for 20 minutes' worth of 99 percent pure oxygen. The medical-grade oxygen-which is available in flavors as varied as mint, tangerine and lemon lime-is inhaled through nose-pluglike devices. "[It gives you] a natural boost," explains Charron, 31.

Charron adds that professional athletes and pilots have long been hip to the powers of purified oxygen. Scoff if you wish, but there must be something in the air: Charron and Hunter plan to open oxygen bars in Los Angeles and New York City soon.

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This article was originally published in the November 1996 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Business Buzz.

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