| By Dick Mason
Observer Staff Writer
ater from North Powder is generating economic sparks for
high school students in Goldendale, Wash.
Members of a Goldendale High School business class are
running a successful business thanks to help from an
innovative North Powder company.
The North Powder firm, Oregon Trail Mountain Spring
Water, is a bottled water company that produces bottled
water with customized labels for at least 200 businesses.
Oregon Trail also helps high school organizations with a
program designed to generate money for them and help
students learn the fine points of running a business.
Through it, students at Goldendale and other high schools
design their own labels. Students also sell advertising that
appears on the back of the labels and is easily visible through
the clear bottles.
"They are liquid calling cards," said Ken Holman, who owns
Oregon Trail with his wife, Patsy.
The print on the ads is magnified by the water in the bottle,
making it possible to fit more on the back of the label because
finer print can be used.
Goldendale and other participating high schools not only
advertising but also the actual bottled water, which they
purchase from the Holmans.
"It is an opportunity for them to conduct their own
fundraiser and build school pride," Ken Holman said.
The Holmans' company also bottles water for Baker High School in Baker City, and high schools in Weiser, Homedale, Parma, St. Anthony and Emmett, Idaho
In Goldendale, the student business selling the water, Timberwolf Springs,
has designed a label with three wolves.
(The Timberwolf is Goldendale High School's mascot.)
The company has made a splash, selling 6,000
bottles each of the past two years. This year
the company's leaders hope to sell 12,000 bottles.
On Wednesday, 25 students from
Goldendale's FBLA chapter took a voyage
to the Oregon Trail plant to see where
their product comes from. The water is
obtained from a spring next to the
Holmans' plant about 50 yards from the
real Oregon Trail. A pioneer diary indicates
that wagon trains stopped to get water at the spring in the 1800s, Holman
continued column 2
|| After seeing the spring, the
Goldendale students worked on the water-bottle assembly line and had a chance to
bottle their own water.|
"This gave them an opportunity to see
how a product is produced from start to
finish," said Becky Bare, a career specialist
at Goldendale High School.
Goldendale's bottled water project is
being conducted as part of a Rural
Entrepreneurship Through Action
Learning (REAL) class program.
Goldendale's Future Business Leaders of
America chapter is also connected to the
Rob Wing, a business teacher at
Goldendale High School, said that Ken
Holman is a key part of the project's
"He has bent over backwards for us. I
have nothing but praise for him," Wing said.
Holman receives assistance from Daren
Spencer and Louise Shreffler of Baker
City, the company's in-house artists.
Spencer and Shreffler fine tune the labels
created by students.
Holman started the high school program
two years ago because he wanted to give students an
opportunity to "work and learn".
"They are rewarded by how much effort
they put in," Holman said.
A school that sells enough advertising
can cover all of its expenses and make
some money besides. Most of the 20-ounce
bottles sell for about $1 a bottle.
The most successful student group
Holman works with is from South
Fremont High School in St. Anthony,
Idaho. Students there make between
$10,000 and $11,000 a year by selling bottled
water they receive from Holman. The
students label each bottle as a "Cougar
Cooler" because the cougar is South
Holman started his company about five
years ago. The North Powder entrepreneur
enjoys working with students and giving
them the opportunity to leam and raise money.
"I get a big kick out of it," he said.