Posted 11/9/2012 09:17 am
Updated 6 months ago
Moshe and Hamsa Newmark of Fayetteville spent much of the ‘80s doing humanitarian aid work in Central America, helping communities build potable water systems.
While bacterial contaminations were the biggest problem in those areas, the couple realized the problem with drinking water in the U.S. was chemical contamination.
“Water treatment plants guarantee you bacteriologically safe water, but what they don’t guarantee you is water that is purified from harmful chemicals — carcinogens,” Moshe Newmark said. “And so we just naturally gravitated to starting a water filtration business.”
They started the business, called Nature’s Water, in their home in 1992, taking orders by mail and phone for shower filters and replacement cartridges. In 1996, the couple opened a store in a commercial building they bought at 275 Huntsville Road.
Nature’s Water now carries 19 models of shower filters, as well as water filtration systems and cartridges for drinking water and whole-house filtration.
Today, most of their orders come through their website, www.showerfilterstore.com. They also sell products at wholesale to major companies like Sharper Image and Brookstone.
Joined now by one of their sons, Hari, his wife, Rochelle, and a marketing specialist, the Newmarks are celebrating 20 years in business. They’re holding an anniversary sale through Saturday offering 20 percent to 50 percent off everything in the store.
The Newmarks say they knew nothing about running a business when they started, but were committed to sharing their knowledge to help others lead a healthier lifestyle. Hamsa Newmark said there have been challenges over the years, such as determining when to expand and gauging how much inventory to have on hand.
She said Sharper Image once placed a large order that had them scrambling to fulfill it, and then canceled — via email — at the last minute. A current challenge is ever-increasing shipping prices, she said, since the company offers free shipping on online orders.
Overcoming the challenges takes a combination of common sense and intuition, she said, and keeping a close eye on the company’s financials. Sales have been up and down since the recession in 2008, “but by and large it’s been steady,” she said.
Moshe Newmark attributes that to the fact that for many people, chemical-free water is a priority.
Nature’s Water has been certified as a “green business” by Green America since 1996, and one of the Newmarks’ goals for 2013 is to add more “green lifestyle” products to its inventory. These may include air filters and weatherization products, as well as personal-care and even pet-care items.
And the Newmarks will continue providing the service and education that has kept customers coming back for 20 years.