Berkshire Mountain Spring Water plant sold

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NEW MARLBOROUGH — A Michigan company with experience in the bottled water industry recently purchased Berkshire Mountain Spring Water on Norfolk Road, which had been owned by the Bosworth family since its inception 48 years ago.

Berkshire Springs Holding Co. LLC of Marquette, Mich., purchased the company for $2.06 million from the Bosworth Family Partnership, according to documents filed at the Southern Berkshire Registry of Deeds in Great Barrington. The new owner also has obtained a $4 million mortgage on the property from a bank in Michigan. Located in the village of Southfield, Berkshire Mountain Spring Water is about seven miles from the Connecticut state line. The business will retain its current name under new ownership.

In a telephone interview, Jon Mommaerts, president of the new ownership group, said Berkshire Springs Holding Co. views the business as a "long-term investment." The new owners are planning to grow the business and make it operate more efficiently, he said, along the lines of another Michigan-based spring water company that is owned by a corporation that some members of the new ownership group have a stake in.

"We're going to be spending the next six months trying to understand what's going on and transition it into the system that we're into," Mommaerts said.

"We want to improve the company and improve its long-term sustainability," he said. "We understand the business very well, having been in it for many years."

Referring to Berkshire Mountain Spring Water's current facility, Mommaerts said, "it could use a little modernization. What we want to do is make the operations better in the long haul."

The plant employs about 28 workers, according to Mommaerts. No layoffs are scheduled to take place. One new employee has been added since Berkshire Springs Holding Co. took over last month.

"I don't see us subtracting anybody," he said. "There are no plans to add anybody today, but we would slowly increase over time."

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Marquette is located on Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The new ownership group includes managers who live in San Francisco and Wisconsin, according to papers filed with the Secretary of State's Office. The group learned that Berkshire Mountain Spring Water was on the market from the manager of its other plant, in Norway Springs, Mich., whom Mommaerts referred to as "one of the leading water bottle consultants in the country, if not the world."

"He's really turned that company around and grown it," Mommaerts said. "We're looking to do something very similar to our operation in Michigan."

In Michigan, the corporation that owns Norway Springs is involved in a partnership with Premium Waters of Minneapolis, which purchased the former Ice River Springs building in Pittsfield for $3 million in June. The new ownership group currently has no plans to establish a similar relationship with Premium Waters in the Berkshires, Mommaerts said.

Berkshire Mountain Spring Water was founded in 1971 by Dale Bosworth, whose 300-acre property on Norfolk Road included a tapped spring that produced 720 gallons of water per minute, according to The Berkshire Eagle archives. The company's water is still bottled at the source, according to the firm's website.

Bosworth, originally from Port Washington, N.Y., had served as a manufacturer's representative for subcontractors in the missile component industry, an insurance salesman and a potato chip manufacturer before deciding to enter the water-bottling, business because he was concerned about water pollution, especially in the Northeast. He moved with his family to New Marlborough in 1963.

The Bosworth Family Partnership includes Dale, Douglas and Pamela Bosworth, according to documents filed with the state. Pamela Bosworth and managers of Berkshire Mountain Spring Water's current operations did not return telephone calls or email messages seeking comment.

Business Editor Tony Dobrowolski can be reached at tdobrowolski@berkshireeagle.com or 413-496-6224.

This story has been clarified to state that Premium Waters purchased the former Ice River Springs building in Pittsfield for $3 million in June; it does not include the property.


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