County’s oldest business: water into gold
by Staff Writer
HUNTERSVILLE – As Mecklenburg’s oldest company, Midas Spring Water not only has a history intertwined with the county’s past, it is also contributing to the area’s future growth with an expanding marketing plan.
Located on 40 acres just off Beatties Ford Road near Latta Plantation, the source for Midas Spring Water is said to have been first discovered by the Catawba Indians. The legend declares that a member of the tribe fell ill during a trading expedition and was left near the spring. Months later as the tribal members were making their return trip home, they stopped at the site and found him fit as a fiddle from imbibing the water there.
Decades passed, and in 1812 the spring was rediscovered by a slave. In 1871, John William Sample, who was raised on nearby Latta Plantation, bought the spring and Midas Spring Water began commercial bottling operations.
Over the years, several Charlotte-Mecklenburg celebrities have been associated with Midas Spring Water. Famed author Harry Golden was once the bottling plant manager. Radiator Specialty Co. founder and millionaire philanthropist I.D. Blumenthal also owned the spring and installed the first bottle washer of its type in the Southeast there.
Another satisfied customer was former North Carolina gubernatorial candidate Harry Stokely who was so thrilled that Midas water helped clear up his kidney stones that he offered his services as a consultant to the company for free.
These days, brothers Joe and Dominic Liburdi own Midas Spring Water and still bottle at the original site. The 9,000-square-foot plant is small compared to other bottled water operations, but that gives the product a hand-crafted quality.
“The water comes from a well that’s 200-feet deep,” Plant Operations Manager Doug Green said. “The blend of minerals in the water is as near perfect as you can get.”
Production at the Midas Spring
Water plant can reach a maximum of 1,000 cases per day. “There’s not a robot in the place,” Green said.
Marketing Midas Spring Water also has evolved. During the days of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the water was carried in five gallon glass bottles by horse and wagon down Beatties Ford Road to Charlotte’s central business district. Midas Spring Water was also available for many years by home delivery.
Now, Midas Spring Water is available directly from the bottling plant on Beatties Ford Road and at several retail outlets including Earth Fare stores in Rock Hill, S.C., South Park, Ballantyne and the new store in Huntersville.
Chris Hinson, manager at the Earth Fare Huntersville, said sales of Midas Spring Water are up.
“The people really love it,” Hinson said. “Sales are going very well.”
Besides selling water, Midas Spring Water also offers tours of the factory by appointment. The grounds surrounding the spring house is a great picnic ground as well.
For information on Midas Spring Water tours, 9861 Beatties Ford Road, or bottled water purchasing, call 704-392-2150.