In a bottled water industry dominated by big corporations like Nestle and Coca-Cola, JADE Spring is unique. Since 2003 this woman-owned business near Osseo, WI has been bottling water that flows naturally from its own artesian well. JADE Spring collects the water, filters it, and bottles it-nothing more. And because of the purity and good taste of the water-nothing more is needed. Today they bottle and ship over 6000 bottles a month, most to regional businesses.
When Beverly and Glen Caldwell bought their farm they didn’t know it had an artesian well on the property. Then a neighbor showed it to them and said they had “the best tasting water in the county.”
Beverly conceived the business when she tasted the water and saw how bottled water sold at local sporting events. But she was concerned about not depleting the underground aquifer or damaging a nearby wetland. The 1930s well delivered a steady five gallons of water a minute. They wondered if they didn’t pump at all – but just bottled a portion of the natural flow – would it be enough to build a successful business?
Beverly brought that question-and many others-to the JBD program at Western Dairyland’s Business Center in Eau Claire. It was, Beverly recalls, a long process between the idea and the successful business. She attended one of Western Dairyland’s Business seminars, and then worked with JBD staff to write a business plan and develop a marketing strategy.
Their best marketing idea, “hands down” according to Beverly, was their customized labeling service. “It’s our niche– something the big producers don’t do on a small scale.” The custom label is popular because JADE Spring makes it easy. “You get us your logo, we’ll get it printed, and deliver the water to your door [with your label]”.
Becky Welke, General Manager at the Plaza Hotel in Eau Claire is a regular customer. “The water tastes so fresh – no comparison to the off-the-shelf brands! And it is a great marketing tool-we sell it, we give it as a premium, and we donate it to community events.” In addition to business customers like the Plaza, many families order custom labeled water for special events like weddings or graduation parties.
Six years later JADE Spring is doing well. In addition to private label sales, local shops and restaurants carry the JADE Spring label. The artesian well continues to flow.