Nebraska Couple Finds Success in Water Business
Two years ago, Roger and Sue Licking purchased Sandhills Natural Water, and they are expanding sales of their pure bottled water from the Ogallala Aquifer around the Midwest.
The water is unique from other bottled water because it’s not filtered or put through reverse osmosis, which means the “gunk” in the water is filtered out and then artificial nutrients are added back in.
“Our water is drawn from the exquisite Ogallala Aquifer, untouched by man, leaving a crisp, pure taste,” Sue said. “You just don’t get any better drinking water than right here from the aquifer!”
The Lickings perform bi-monthly water tests to ensure the water meets state standards, with special attention to nitrates and coliform. They’ve never had questionable water samples.
The Lickings purchased the business in January 2018 from Myron and Kay Peterson of Oshkosh, who started Sandhills Natural Water 30 years ago. The Lickings moved the business closer to their home in rural Mullen, where they can fill up to 1,400 bottles per hour in half or one-liter bottles.
“Roger has always had a love for good H2O and has always had an interest in spreading our amazing water in the Sandhills to everyone to just get good drinking water,” Sue said.
One of the first actions they took as new business owners was to join GROW Nebraska®.
“We knew we needed some help getting our product out on the market and to expand the locations where our water is sold,” Sue said. “What better way to help promote a Nebraska product than through a Nebraska store. Our sales are good through the Buy Nebraska store, and they have regular customers coming in asking for our water. It is awesome to know people love our water, and we are also helping out a Nebraska store in the process.”
The Lickings recently teamed up with Coors Distribution in North Platte, Nebraskaland Distribution in Grand Island, Dietrich Distribution in Scottsbluff/Gering and most recently Heartland Beverage in Norfolk to distribute their water at convenience stores, retail stores and grocery stores. Their water is now sold across Nebraska and into Colorado and South Dakota.
They also create private-label water bottles for weddings, graduations, personal/custom stores and special events.
The Lickings have attended GROW’s MarkeTech Conference the past two years.
“I enjoy listening to how others have started and how everyone is growing their business,” Sue said. “I am not a good marketing and sales person, so learning how to not over-do it but yet stay consistent has been helpful, as well as social media information.”
Sue said their company’s biggest success in the past two years has been partnering with distributors.
“That was the key to get our water moving and get the volume out there and let people have a taste of the best water in the world!” she said.
They also have had a chance to give back with their business. During the Nebraska spring floods of 2019, the Lickings partnered with other water businesses that offered custom labels to donate 720 cases of water to flood victims.
Licking said in the next few years, they hope to grow their customer base to other areas of the United States.
“Sandhills Natural Water is a business that is family operated and genuinely loved by our family,” Sue said. “It is strictly pure, all-natural, crisp water you will ever taste!”
For more information about Sandhills Natural Water, please visit the company’s GROW Nebraska profile page at https://members.grownebraska.org/list/member/sandhills-natural-water-9502