Lorne and Joan Siemers, along with their four kids, Emma, Grace, Owen and Liam, live in St. Paul, Alberta, Canada, the heart of oil country, with a strong agricultural base. We are all born, raised, and live in the communities we now serve.
1)Why did you decide to get into the bottled-water business?
We had a desire to diversify. When the opportunity to purchase an established water bottling and delivery business presented itself, we saw it as an exciting new proposition for our family to invest in, with growth potential. On July 4, 2011, we became the new owners of that business.
We further expanded the business in May 2012 with the purchase of our closest competitor and merged the two companies together under the new name, “The Right Water Bottling Company.”
2)How did you find Norland and why did you decide to purchase from us?
When we got into the water business, the bottling process was still very hands on. We felt there had to be a better way to bottle water that was more effective and efficient, while reducing the possibility of contamination. So we started researching on-line and found Norland. After contacting Chris McCormack and visiting the facilities at Norland, we knew that Norland was the best choice for us. Norland designs, builds and tests all of its equipment on site. There is a qualified person behind every step of the process, available to answer any questions or concerns, including technical support. And even though Norland is over 1,400 miles away from us, we consider them a “local” company that we can easily deal with.
3)You mainly use the Triton 160. How is the machine working for you? How many bottles a year do you produce? How has Norland’s customer service helped you over the years?
We started using the Triton 160 in March 2012, and it has been a fantastic machine for us. It has been a real work horse, simplistic in its use and maintenance. It has increased our productivity, and alleviated our concerns regarding possible contamination issues, and has even received high praise from our health inspector. Norland stands behind its equipment, and staff are always available to answer any service questions or concerns we’ve had, including shipping out parts to us in a timely manner to keep us up and running with minimal down time, which is extremely important to us.
In the 2 ½ + years since we’ve been using the Triton 160, we’ve bottled over 430,000 3 and 5 gallon water bottles.
4)How do you use your equipment? (What size bottles do you produce? Do you add flavors or minerals to your water?)
We are involved mainly with the production and delivery of the 5 and 3 gallon water bottles. We use the process of reverse osmosis with ozone to produce the purest drinking water. As of this time, we do not add any flavors or minerals to our water, however, with the set up of our new facility, we’ve allowed for the future expansion into this area.
5)Tell us about your business. How many employees do you have? How big of a territory do you cover? How has your business grown since you’ve started? Any plans for future growth?
We currently service a large area, delivering water bottles within a 125 mile radius to convenience stores, oilfield sites, schools, businesses and private residences, both rural and urban. We started with one business, one truck, then bought out a competitor, added 4 more trucks, 2 smaller in town delivery vehicles and more employees. We have 3 employees and ourselves, and deliver approximately 3,000 – 3,500 bottles a week. We are very hands-on owners, involved in the daily production, delivery runs and office administration. Our four kids, ages 12 to 8, put their time in too on a daily basis, making this a family oriented business.
Further expansion is underway with the renovation of a larger facility to accommodate our growing business. This will include upgrading the Triton 160 to the Triton 450, which will enable us to keep up with the demand. This will also reduce the need to hire more employees, as Alberta is currently experiencing a labour shortage.
In addition to the production of the 5 and 3 gallon water bottles, we are gearing up to produce 500 mL custom labeled water bottles. Our goal is to market this product to businesses, organizations, schools and community groups. Norland, of course, has supplied us with a complete SpectraPak 3000 bottling line. This includes the blow molder, unscrambler, case pack and shrink wrap systems, and we are very excited to start producing our own small water bottles.
In addition to the production and delivery of water, we also produce party ice, which we supply to liquor stores, convenience stores, and lake resorts, with peak ice season from May to September. This part of our business has also seen increased growth this past year, and we are currently looking to upgrade this process for next year to accommodate the growing demand.
We also have two self serve water dispensers for customers to use.
6)Any other thoughts you wish to share about your business, the importance of bottled water, or how Norland has worked with you to make your business a success?
Norland has been absolutely fantastic to deal with. Their staff is knowledgable, professional and a pleasure to deal with. We’ve been to the Norland facility three times in the past three years, and each time they have been very welcoming, like old friends. We are able to put a face to every name. They also understand our desire to grow our business, and offer valuable advice to help us do just that.
Norland’s technicians also attend on site initially to properly set up the equipment and ensure it’s running to specifications, and provide training on all of the equipment. We look forward to seeing the Norland team at our new facility to get us up and running.
Patrick McFarland at Norland has also provided us with oxo-biodegradable caps, which has allowed both us and our customers the ability to minimize our impact on the environment, while still maintaining a competitive edge. This is especially beneficial to our customers in the oilfield industry, who have received a bad reputation with their “dirty oil.”
They’ve also given us contacts to suppliers for preforms, shrink wrap, and cardboard trays, which has been invaluable to us, especially since we are just starting out with the small bottling line.
We would highly recommend Norland International to anyone in the water bottling business, and will continue to do business with them in the years to come.