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Grant helps booming bottling business expand

By ANNA MEILER

FORESTPORT, N.Y. (WKTV) -- Business is booming for a local water bottling business, Nirvana, so National Grid is giving them a grant to help offset expansion costs.

"We don't have a big check, but we have a check with a big number," said Gerald Haenlin of National Grid as he presented the check Thursday afternoon.

The more than $200,000 grant is the first the company has ever received. It's going toward the cost of a new bottling line.

"That one line that we just installed increased our production 8 million to 10 million cases annually," said Mo Rafizadeh, vice president of Nirvana. "Because we're using more power that gave them the ability to give us some money toward the expansion."

It's not just what's inside the bottle that matters. The company credits their label and bottle design for their growth.

"We just needed more capacity. In the summer last year and the year before we had such a big demand on our Nirvana brand that we couldn't keep up so the only way to fix that problem is adding a new line, including a blow mold, and all the necessary equipment to go with it," said Rafizadeh.

Nirvana started as a manufacturer for private labels and has seen massive growth in their company since they started primarily selling their own brand in 2011. In just two years, they've become the second most popular water bottle distributor in New York and they plan to keep growing.

"If we want to do anything else we'd probably have to start a new building over there somewhere which we've already gotten approval from the Boonville zoning board to do so, so we're just waiting to pick up some more business before we move forward with such an expansion," said Rafizadeh.

With increased production, the company says they'll be able to hire 20 additional employees.

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