264 265 that myhusband cleared out of our cedar bush on that spring propertyand starting bottling and selling in one gallon and a two and a half gallon containers and then it just grewfrom there.” Well,perhaps it grewfor a specific reason.This was just asY2Kbecame a fear,and as peopleworried about aworld computer meltdown,they stocked up onwater just to be safe.Focusing on private label sales,their water began to ship out faster than it could be bottled. “The industrygrewquite rapidlyandwe started to expand our footprint,”Gott explains.“Water is a heavy product so logisticallywe needed to be close to our customers’distribution centers.Our first expansionwas intoWestern Canada and thenwe expanded into the United States with our first plant south of the border inNorth Carolina in 2005,bottling local springwater fromTable RockMountain.We nowhave 13 bottling plants in Canada and the U.S.,eachwith their own sources of water.” Fromone familyon their own farm,the companyhas expanded to about 600 employees.But that amount of growth also led to a lot of learning.Ice River Springs became the first water company in Canada toman- ufacture its own preforms-caps and bottles.Then it ICE RIVER SPRINGSWATER COMPANY led theway in termsof light- weighting-creatingplasticbottles thatwerehalf theweightof an averagesodabottle,about eight andahalfgrams. “The retail priceofbottled water continues tocomedown,” Gott says,“andwehave tocontin- ue to invest inthe latest technol- ogyto increaseefficienciesand reducecost.Youhave to lookat yourpackaging and continue to innovate and integrate your processes.” And that is where the Gotts continued to be proactively innovative.As the company grewtoencompassall ofCanada andtheUnitedStateseastof the Mississippi,andas theybeganto shipto larger retailers,groceries, drugstores,andbigboxstores, theyneededtocontinue tooffer somethingthecompetitioncould At heart we are a family company from a farming background. That means we have always been very cognizant of protect- ing the environment. We farm about 3,000 acres organically as part of our source protection plan. We believe that in taking care of the land, the land will take care of you. SANDY GOTT CO-FOUNDER AT A GLANCE ICE RIVER SPRINGS WATER COMPANY WHAT: An environmentally-friendly distributor of bottled water WHERE: High Springs, Florida WEBSITE: