In the 1st World, we don’t think much about water. (Unless — as happened recently in Flint and at Staples High School — it turns discolored.)
But Ben Goldstein does.
Since age 9, Ben — now a Staples senior — has raised money for charity. He’s earned awards from Autism Speaks, for bringing in more than $10,000 a year for 5 years.
As a sophomore — fascinated by business — he decided to start his own venture. He wanted to include a charitable component too.
That summer, Ben took a business course at Brown University. It spurred him to develop an idea, a name and a business plan. He chose Choice Water.
Ben spoke with industry professionals, bottlers, plastic manufacturers and deli owners. He learned all he could about the bottled water industry.
What makes Choice Water different from the bajillions of other water bottles out there is that — based on the label they choose — consumers can direct a portion of the purchase price to different charities. So far, Ben has lined up 2: Autism Speaks and Child Advocates of Southwest Connecticut.
Using the 99designs website, Ben found a woman in Indonesia to create his logo, and a man in Hungary to design the label.
Ben hit the pavement, talking with local deli and grocery store owners about refrigerator space. It’s not easy competing against Poland Spring and Coke. But Choice Water is on sale in all 4 Garelick & Herbs locations, Oscar’s, Gold’s, Fortuna’s and Village Bagels.
“Each store is different,” Ben says. “Competition is different, space is different, the clientele is different.” In one store he may compete against 1 brand of water; in another, 6. He’s learned to adapt his product’s presentation for each store.
Ben believes Choice Water is important because “it’s an easy way for people to do good, while doing something they were going to do anyway. If you have a choice between buying water that supports a local charity, or a bottle from a multi-billion-dollar company…”
In addition, Choice Water empowers consumers to pick exactly which charity they like. Ben hopes to have more choices soon, and more locations throughout Fairfield County.
Westport Sunrise Rotary has honored Ben for his work.
Now it’s up to us. Which water will we choose?