LINDEN – A local entrepreneur hopes his company’s bottled water will refresh – perhaps even redeem – those who drink it.
“Our mission statement is to do anything in technology or otherwise that benefits law enforcement,” said Brian Germann, president and chief executive officer of Wayne Enterprises Inc, a Linden-based high-tech company. “What could be more beneficial to law enforcement than to promote people to behave?”
To that end, Wayne Enterprises is distributing Holy Drinking Water – a half-liter of reverse-osmosis purified water bottled by a Stockton company and blessed by clergy. So far, the blessings have come from Catholic and Anglican priests, but the plan is for clergy from any faith that honors holy water to offer blessings.
The Rev. Mark Smith stood in a Linden self-storage facility Feb. 21, made the sign of the cross, thanked God for the gift of water, asked that the bottled water benefit those who consume it and then blessed the 200 cases of water waiting to be shipped.
“This has some potential and is a lot of fun,” said the Traditional Anglican Communion priest from Southern California.
“Most people will pass it off. But some may have a moment,” he said.
Julie Thompson and Jeannette Skarbo fell into the first category.
On Tuesday, the two women looked at cases of the water stacked at Rinaldi’s Market in Linden, the only retail outlet for the 99 cent bottles, also sold through the Internet at www.holydrinkingwater.info.
“We can’t drink this,” Skarbo giggled after reading the warning to sinners on the bottle label.
Germann said the product has sparked positive conversations about religion and what it means to be a sinner.
“As a company, we were prepared for more negative feedback,” he said.
Germann was careful to point out that the intent is not for the water to become a substitute for attending church.
The concept for Holy Drinking Water grew from a conversation Germann had with his niece on June 6, 2006, or 666 – a number often associated with Satan.
The pair decided that an antidote to the possible evil inherent in the day was needed, and the Holy Drinking Water concept was born.
Since January, Germann has sold about 3,000 bottles of the water to individuals, with another 1,752 bottles purchased to be donated to troops in Iraq.
Eventually, he hopes to form a nonprofit that would funnel the profits into scholarships and other educational efforts.
“It’s gone from being a local thing in Linden to going national,” Germann said.
Holy water warning
The label on Holy Drink Water includes a warning to sinners: If you are a sinner or evil in nature, this product may cause burning, intense heat, sweating, skin irritations, rashes, itchiness, vomiting, bloodshot and watery eyes, pale skin color and oral irritations.