Jackson County Economic Development Partnership (JCEDP) Executive Director, Sam Brady, has announced the Piketon-based company Sunrush Water has opted to establish a manufacturing and distribution operation in the City of Wellston within the existing Gem Beverages facility, located at 106 E. 11th St.

Sunrush Water was established in 2008 and is a distributor of water-treatment systems, custom-labeled water, water coolers and La Pod compostable coffee pods, servicing customers in the counties of Pike, Ross, Jackson, Adams, Lawrence, Fayette, Scioto, Highland and Pickaway, as well as Kentucky and West Virginia.

According to a press release from the JCEDP, Brady states his group has been working with Sunrush since September 2019. Brady himself showed the company numerous properties in Jackson, Oak Hill and Wellston. The release states the company opted to lease space from Gem Beverages due to the history of bottling at the location as well as the natural synergies and collaboration opportunities that come from collocating with an established beverage company. In addition to bottling, Sunrush Water will also distribute from the Wellston location.

“As the owner of Sunrush Water, I am proud to announce that as of July 30, 2020, we have been officially licensed to bottle our own five-gallon water,” said Sunrush Water owner Michael Blum. “We have set up a new bottling plant in Wellston at the Gem Beverages warehouse and effective today we will be delivering water bottled by Sunrush directly to our customers. Sunrush Water is still maintaining our office in Piketon and will be operating all of our water-treatment and service work from that location. Our five-gallon water will be bottled in Wellston and all deliveries will be made from that location going forward. Some minor remodeling work is still being done to the building, once it is finished, we plan to offer a COVID-19-friendly open house in which customers and anyone else who is interested can visit the bottling facility and arrange a tour on an appointment basis.”

Blum went on to say, “This is a very exciting step for us as a company. It not only allows us to take direct control of the quality of the product, but it changes how we spend our money. We no longer have to buy a product from someone who isn't local to the area; we can manufacture this product locally and keep more money in the local economy. It is also helping to create more jobs for the area. Sunrush has already added one full-time position to the company, but expects to create at least two more new positions within the next year as they expand into seven new counties surrounding Jackson County.”

Brady likewise offered a comment, expressing his excitement for the new business venture.

“The JCEDP is excited to add Sunrush Water to the list of great food and beverage companies manufacturing success in Jackson County,” he said in the release. “Whether food giants like Bellisio Foods and General Mills, legacy brands like Gem Beverages, or young companies like Buff Lo Dip and Farm on the Ridge, Jackson County is home to a diverse food cluster whose products are found in local convenience stores, regional super markets, and grocery stores across North America and into Asia. We are proud to include Sunrush Water among these great companies, and look forward to their growth for years to come.”

Wellston Mayor Charlie Hudson described Sunrush Water’s decision to come to Wellston as “just another step in the reinvention of Wellston,” stating further that all successful small towns are comprised of many small businesses.

“We appreciate Sunrush’s confidence that we can provide an atmosphere where they can be successful and grow their brand,” Mayor Hudson said.

Echoing Blum’s comments regarding the positive economic impacts of manufacturing and shipping locally, Jackson County Commissioner Paul Haller stated, “In light of the need in today’s world to shorten and localize supply chains, we are thrilled that Sunrush Water is able to take advantage of a facility that previously bottled soft drinks to bottle quality water for distribution throughout the region.”