Jackson County Times

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Thursday, February 4, 2010

A Jackson County Industry With A Humanitarian Spirit

Ice River Springs is a great example of a modern, socially conscious business…..Jackson County is privileged to have them as a local employer. By Sid Riley

Ice River Springs, the new water bottling plant located at the Marianna Airport Industrial Park is barely through their start-up phase, but they are already proving to be a modern, socially minded industry which is more than ready to “give back” to the local community….and to meet social responsibilities. This was recently exemplified by their response to the crisis in Haiti.

This new local company worked overtime last week to produce fifteen truck loads of bottled water with a value of over $90,000 as their donation to meet the needs of those poor suffering souls in Haiti. They also produced another fifteen truck loads of water which was being donated by one of their principal customers, D.S. Waters of America. The spirit of giving and helping fellow man is still alive and well.

The local manager of the huge Ice Springs facility is T.J. East, who hails from Madisonville, Kentucky. T.J., his wife Judy, and their two sons Michael and Matthew all reside in Marianna. Matthew is a senior at Marianna High, and Michael is employed at the plant.

Ice Springs is a family owned business, started some seventeen years ago by Jamie and Sandy Gott, of Ontario Canada. Their company has grown to be the largest water bottler in Canada, with four plants there, all of which are larger than the Marianna plant. They also have sister U.S. plants in Morgantown, North Carolina, Pittsville, Massachusetts, and Kentland, Indiana.

Their local operation is highly automated, with bottle making, filling, labeling, crating, and packaging equipment humming as bottles whizz by at unbelievable speeds in a coordinated system. The plant is moving towards employing twenty people in the coming months. The plant completes an amazing 45,000 bottles per hour…and it works sixteen hours per day. That yields a daily bottling output of 720,000 bottles per day….right here in little ole Jackson County!

You can watch for their labels as you shop. They produce both spring water products and purified water products. Their primary labels are ‘Ice River Springs’ and “Crystal Springs” . They sell their products to Wal Mart, Family Dollar, Winn Dixie, and many other major retailers.

So the next time you feel a thirst, and you uncap a bottle of water, take time to examine the label. There is a good chance it was bottled in Jackson County!

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