Teen’s artisan water business starts to flow

For many aspiring entrepreneurs, it can take years to tap into an idea for a business model.

But for 18-year-old Lawrence Reeves, not only was the idea so simple, it was right in his backyard.

A natural spring flowing on his family’s property became the source of Reeves’ business, Revival Mountain Company, a new artisan bottled water concept.

His family’s home rests high on a hill in Leiper’s Fork on 20 acres, which overlooks the winding backroads of Williamson County. On the front porch, five wooden rocking chairs quietly lean forward and back as a fall breeze whispers across the hilltop.

“This is just a great place to clear your mind,” Reeves says as he sips out of a Revival Mountain Company bottle.

It’s beauty in every sense of the word. And in a place so serene and pure, it’s only fitting that a business based on the earth’s purest resource is being born here.

But for Reeves, who works at Honest Coffee Roasters in Franklin, the idea to bottle the spring water on his family’s property didn’t hit him until he was on a bathroom break about two months ago.

“I was in the bathroom in The Factory and this guy walked in talking to his buddy and said, ‘Man the next person who jumps on artisan water, they’ve got it, it will be huge.’ And I thought, cool, I’ll do it,” he said. “So, I sat for a week, came up with ideas, drew up the logo. From there I thought, well shoot I’ve got to get this started.”

Reeves hasn’t stopped hustling since that moment.

Last month, Reeves took part in the Made South event in Franklin, a Makers Market featuring 90 makers and artisans from eight southern states. For him, it was a success. He sold about 100 bottles of Revival Mountain Company water during the event.

“It was great, it was our very first event ever and we sold out of all of our water,” he said.

To bottle and sell the water, he’s installed an alkaline system, which allows him to customize the water’s PH levels. However, Reeves plans on switching to a different system once he gains approval from the Food and Drug Administration.

According to the FDA, Reeves also has to comply with local laws regarding bottling water as well.

“It is possible to bottle and sell water in Williamson County,” Eric Ward, communications director at the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation wrote in an email. “However, there are regulatory safeguards to protect public health and the resource from which the water is taken.”

Ward added that TDEC’s Division of Water Resources would also be involved with the initial approval of the source water and the necessary minimum treatment requirements.

“While we are in the midst of using an alkaline system we will be getting our spring FDA approval with all of the purification equipment and everything that’s required to bottle it,” Reeves said. “For now, we have to do an alkaline system, which is fine on a local level, but need to get approved to expand.”

Reeves is in talks with investors right now and hopes to have the bottled water on shelves in local stores within the next six months. He’s aiming to carry the product at places like Turnip Truck and the Franklin Mercantile Deli.

But Revival Mountain Company isn’t just about water, Reeves wants to develop a multifaceted brand.

“I want to create community,” he said. “The goal with this is really to create a lifestyle brand around this water that will consist of outdoor wear, jackets, shirts, backpacks.”

Even though he’s only 18, there’s a look of confidence, maturity and determination in his eyes. Reeves said he’s been able to focus on his passion thanks to his mentor Brett Henry, owner of Franklin Juice Company and Honest Coffee Roasters.

“I really admire the way he runs his businesses and he’s been a huge inspiration to me,” Reeves said.

Henry, who is also Reeves’ boss at Honest Coffee Roaster, said he has no doubt Revival Mountain Company is going to connect with the community.

“When he first came to me with the idea he said he found this spring and gave me the results of the water test and I was blown away by it,” Henry said. “I think when he steps out with it it’s going to be so well received.”