By Carlos David Mogollon, WC&P Executive Editor
We here at WC&P would like to introduce you to a new monthly feature. This column will serve as a brief introduction to a broader interview that we’ll be posting on our website with executives of manufacturers, assemblers and distributors on issues and changes affecting the point-of-use/point-of-entry (POU/POE) industry. The full interview can be found at www.wcponline.com under the “Executive Q&A” button.
Amid the forest fires of late last summer was the first opportunity we had to talk with Craig Story, president of Idaho’s PHSI and its Pure Water Technology Division, about the evolution of the cooler business.
“What’s amazing is Montana is burning up and it’s beautiful here… The smoke’s all blowing the other way,” Story said. “We don’t have any fires here.”
PHSI makes and markets plumbed in water purification coolers with up to six stages of treatment, including ozonation, reverse osmosis and microprocessor control.
When the company started more than three years ago, he said, it had developed a cooler, set up manufacturing operations and, in January 1998, opened three corporate-owned dealerships. In the fall of that year, they spun off the dealerships and ramped up a full-blown dealer affiliate recruitment program. In January 2000, PHSI entered into an agreement with its major parts supplier, Oasis Corp., to have Oasis begin manufacturing its coolers.
“The only thing still made in Idaho is the printed circuit board for the Pure Water 1 for process control,” Story said.
Today, the company has over 70 dealers from the West Coast to the East Coast and even in Europe. It set up a financing program in-house so dealers could rent on a monthly basis rather than sell out right, which is good for recurring income. And it developed a sales and marketing program that includes technical and dealer manuals: “virtually everything it takes for them to be successful.” That’s important because often they’re competing with national bottled water suppliers.
“Most of these dealers out there are guys that aren’t doing bottled water commercially and we’re helping them put those out there to compete,” Story said. “We have a dealer in California, which is basically the Bay Area near San Jose. It was Lafayette, but they moved last year into a new office and warehouse space in Concord—a much larger facility. They were our first dealer.”
The company now has dealers in Ireland and England and is working on affiliates in Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Greece as well. And it’s begun working with bottled water companies to market its products in areas where it doesn’t have a dealer affiliate.
Company: PHSI Pure Water Technology Division
120 E. Lake St., Ste. 313
Sandpoint, ID 83864
(800) 265-5157 or (208) 265-8408
(208) 265-8670 (fax)
Key Products: Point-of-use water treatment coolers
President: Craig Story
Revenues: 48 percent sales growth in 2000 and 50 percent growth expected in 2001
Sales Network: Jan. 1, 2000—40 dealers; now—70 dealers; projected end of 2001—120 dealers