U.S. Water News Online
MANITOU SPRINGS, Colo. -- For more than 100 years, the
mineral springs in this small town have reportedly healed the sick,
cured the arthritic and animated the depressed.
Centuries ago, American Indians bathed in the water, which they
consider sacred. Europeans and East Coast residents followed in the
early 20th century, building bathhouses around town.
Now comes O Yoon Kwon, a Korean pharmacist from New York with a
background in alternative medicine and a master's degree in public
He plans to launch Manitou Springs Mineral Water Inc. and bottle
water at an old plant at the west edge of this town about 65 miles
south of Denver.
It's not the first time someone has tried to make a buck off the
water's high concentrations of sodium, manganese, calcium, chloride,
magnesium and iron. But it may be the first time the water is
marketed specifically to Asian communities here and around the world.
People of Japan, Korea and China are potential customers because
water in some regions of those countries does not always receive a
clean bill of health, Kwon said.
He also knows many Asians in New York City who have relatives
abroad who like to drink mineral water and are looking for something
new, different and refreshing.
``This isn't going to be just for drinking. This is going to be
for the good of your health,'' Kwon, 68, said in a telephone
interview from his pharmacy in New York. He hopes to make the water
available to local retailers in the next couple of months.
``I've been looking around the world for this kind of water since
1984,'' he said. ``I can't wait to get started.''
However, the track record on bottling Manitou Springs' mineral
water has been dismal.
Michelle Carvell, executive director of Pikes Peak Country
Attractions Association, said one businessman extracted the
carbonation from the water, then added artificial flavor to it. That
venture fell through.
Another man wanted to turn the bottling plant into a brew pub,
with a twist of mineral water. It never got off the ground.
Kwon's venture sounds promising given his background in pharmacy,
``I think this is a good deal,'' she said. ``It gets Manitou
Springs' name out to an international market. We're hoping that when
they do the next set of labels, they'll put a web address on it, so
the people who are curious can go to the source.''
The mineral water comes from an old well called the Ute Gusher,
one of 28 wells spread across town. A century-old pump runs under a
street into the plant, which Kwon bought for $540,000 in January.
Charles L.T. Smith, a Manitou Springs architect, rebuilt the
wooden bridge over Fountain Creek to make way for trucks, paved the
driveway and fixed the stone walls that run along the creek in front
of the property. In November, the plant celebrated its grand opening.
``As Americans, we're used to popping pills, but sometimes
drinking this water can be just as good for you,'' Smith said.
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