Grass Valley, CA — Entrepreneurship is alive and well in the former California Gold Rush town of Grass Valley. Earlier this week, two local businessmen announced plans to open what they believe is the county’s first bottled water only store. The store will feature waters sucked from various aquifers around the globe and according to partner Jess Battenly, they plan on competing directly with the wine tasting storefronts that have literally taken over the small downtown community.
“David came up with the idea first,” said Mr. Battenly referring to his partner David Johanson, a former NID [Nevada Irrigation District] employee. “He was like, ‘man, there are so many wine tasting places downtown now. We could make a fortune selling bottled water to tourists and the occasional desperate local.”
According to the business plan, that David and Jess shared with Gish Gallop, the two have been working with distributors from all over the world to secure deliveries of rare and something the industry calls “difficult to tap” bottles waters. The pair hopes to stock as many as 140 different varieties with over 100 of them being imported from outside the United States.
“We’ll have Fiji water, and water from Ecuador. We’ll even have water that isn’t water,” chuckled Mr. Battenly. “It will be a bottle of dirt from Ethiopia. There will be trench water from Mumbai, which will probably give you dysentery or cholera or both. And David’s favorite, NID ditch water from the Cascade Shores Canal here in Nevada County. David bottles it himself from his Miner’s inch.”
According to environmental experts and activists, selling something that should be a human right such as water is not only grossly immoral, it is profoundly stupid on a number of levels.
“First off,” said Professor of Environmental Science Stephen Dedalus of Humboldt State University, “most bottled water is simply tap water. Think about how dumb you are for buying tap water. But more than that, waters obtained from aquifers around the world, especially 3rd world ones, are frankly stolen from the local people. What’s worse, many of these companies sell their water back to them, something they can hardly afford. Their governments have completely sold their right to potable water to these large companies.”
As for Mr. Battenly, he’s trying to be as eco-groovy as possible.
“I’ve heard that whole ‘bottled water’ is bad thing a thousand times,” continued Mr. Battenly. “That’s why we’re only going to sell water bottled by smaller companies. No Pepsi. No Coke. No Aquafina. No Nestle bullshit. Only boutique and artisan waters. They’ll be more expensive, but we expect our customers will have discriminating tastes. We’re also planning on partnering with the local wine tasting rooms. You know, people could ‘cleanse their palates’ between tastings.”
The store is hoping to open in time for the Christmas shopping season on Mill Street.