South Shore Insider: Edward Rose III


South Shore Insider: Edward Rose III, Owner of Rocky Mountain Spring Water

HINGHAM — Rocky Mountain Spring Water Co. has sold well over 5 million gallons of spring water to Bay Staters over the last 22 years. “It’s a lot of product to have a perfect track record,” said Edward Rose III, owner of the Hingham-based business. Rose and his father, Edward Rose Jr., are originally from Hingham and together started the business in 1992. They’re still working beside each other.

The company owns two state-certified public water sources: Harvest Spring in Plympton and Rock Spring on the Brockton-Abington line. Company trucks deliver the natural, sodium-free spring water to the business’ kiosks. Customers can purchase a gallon of water for 25 cents from the kiosks, including ones in the Curtis Liquors parking lot in Weymouth and at Randolph Plaza in Randolph.

In addition to the “fill-your-own” kiosk model, Rose developed another model through a partnership with Nestlé Waters. In 2012, Rose and his business partner, Mike Verrochi, started selling 5-gallon bottles of Nestlé-brand water from vending machines. Rose hopes to have 500 to 1,000 machines throughout the United States next year.

There are currently 50 kiosks and vending machines in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, Rose said.

The foundation of your business is the water kiosks. Has your primary customer changed since you started in 1992?

It started out as elderly people who wanted sodium-free water and didn’t mind going out on a separate trip to get it. But now it’s right across the board; it’s everyone using the kiosks. We’re seeing young people, environmentally conscious and active people.

Do you consider a location’s demographic prior to placing a kiosk?

We will place one of our machines in a municipality that has water that may be treated with chlorine or one with an older infrastructure.

Do you invest in marketing?

It’s tough because when you’re selling a product as cheap as we’re selling it, you can’t spend a ton on marketing. We try to build kiosks in visible locations and try to provide the best product we can and keep the stores the cleanest.

Do you expect you’ll have to change your price for water?

We may have to go up on some of the pricing in the next 12 months at the kiosks, but it’s not going to be significant. Maybe a nickel increase.

Has your business considerably expanded in size and sales volume?

Our business hasn’t grown a tremendous amount. Volume has stayed the same for the past five years. It’s been consistent. Business isn’t growing, but it isn’t shrinking, either.

What changes in your industry’s technology have you observed since 1992?

The technology that tracks the inventory and trucks is the change. This technology that we implemented two years ago monitors the amount of water in the tanks and activity. It helps us logistically move our trucks; we won’t send a truck to a kiosk if it doesn’t need water.

What’s the biggest obstacle your business faces?

One of the biggest issues is people think that because the kiosk’s product is so cheap, it’s just purified water. They think we’re just pumping in city water and not filtering it. We’re not. People need to understand that there are tanks in these kiosks and our stainless-steel trucks deliver all pure, natural spring water.