JET, Okla. (AP) — After 10 years in business, water keeps flowing and business keeps growing for deVine Water.
Since opening, deVine has expanded: from one employee — Max McDermott, the owner — to about 10; from a few customers to a variety of grocery stores, corporate companies and individuals; from one small building to a large facility. Now, deVine is searching for a warehouse in Oklahoma City to supply demand.
Building his business from the ground up was "quite an endeavor," McDermott told the Enid News & Eagle.
McDermott, deVine's founder and owner, first purchased the land holding the artesian wells in 2003. When he first tapped the well, he did not know there were others on the land, he said.
After he discovered the others, he was able to leave one free-flowing next to the highway: clean water for anyone who wants it. It flows from a pipe out of the ground at about 70 gallons a minute. Travelers and locals alike visit the "artesian well on Highway 11" to fill up free of charge.
He began bottling on his own in a small licensed room, but soon the demand exceeded his production abilities. He built a larger facility and dug a pit to sell water to oil drillers.
Building the business up to get funding and cash flow was an obstacle over the years, McDermott said. In the beginning, selling water to the oil fields was a major help.
McDermott contracted with a bottling company in Caldwell, Kan., and then purchased the equipment when the company went under. Now he bottles everything inside his facility near Jet. All the water comes directly into his facility, runs through a sediment filter and UV light and ozone process to eliminate any bacteria, and is bottled, no transport needed.
"Everything happens right here," McDermott said.
In his first endeavors at bottling the water by himself, McDermott said he was lucky to get 60 to 100 cases of water done a day. Now, with the equipment, he's replaced and purchased, about 100 bottles a minute can be processed. The equipment also is capable of filling three-, four- and five-gallon bottles in addition to drinking-bottle sizes.
"I couldn't do it without everyone around me," McDermott said.
McDermott said his biggest success in the last decade is having six grandchildren, and also seeing deVine grow steadily and form a solid foundation.
"Success isn't always tied to money," he said. "God has blessed us. He gives us our little area to take care of."
DeVine markets both bulk water and bottled water. Customers also can custom-label their bottles. DeVine water can be purchased at both Jumbo Foods locations in Enid.
According to a statement by Mark Crawford, a geologist, deVine's water's origin comes from the ice age 15,000 years ago. The glacier waters flowing down from Colorado were trapped underground naturally in a sandstone reservoir. "Stored by Nature from the Ice Age. available now for your enjoyment," Crawford said in the statement.
McDermott and his family all contributed to the company name. The township of Vining is located close to the wells and the facility. His family contributes much of their success to God, and thought of John 15:5, "I am the Vine. You are the branches." McDermott and his wife are both basketball fans, so he contributed the "de" in the spirit of "defense."
"Divining for water" was a historical method of locating water, but McDermott said he didn't learn that until after the name was chosen.
Information from: Enid News & Eagle, http://www.enidnews.com