Bottled water companies selling directly to customers

Bottled water companies selling directly to customers
Published: Aug. 6, 2014 at 10:31 PM HST|Updated: Aug. 7, 2014 at 1:19 AM HST
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HALAWA (HawaiiNewsNow) - The search for bottled water is leaving a lot of people high and dry. But at Menehune Water Company, demand for supply is driving up drive-in business.

"We saw Menehune so we pulled over," Rona Chung said.

In a matter of minutes she had 14 cases of bottled water loaded into her SUV. Lots of people are giving up their search for bottled water at stores and going straight to the companies that produce the product.

"We've only got a couple bottles at home. Normally that would be enough. You can't have too much water," customer Jared Wickware said.

Since Monday, Menehune has been selling bottled water at its Will Call window. It's getting busier by the day.

"It used to be about 40 customers a day average. Now you're talking about 300," company president Ken Simon said.

Up the road in Halawa valley, Aloha Water Company is doing the same thing. About 100 to 150 daily sales are going directly to drop-in customers.

"This is the most walk-in traffic I've seen in 20 years. You're here. In five minutes you're out," company president Daniel Gabriel said.

Menehune added an extra work shift to fill orders for retailers.

"As soon as we deliver, it's basically sold out in a few hours," Simon said.

With back-to-back storms breathing down our neck, bottled water companies are trying to quench everyone's thirst.

"We're limiting everybody to about 20 cases. It might go to 10 cases tomorrow, because we want to be able to help everyone," Gabriel said.

There have been reports of outlets taking advantage of desperate customers and over-pricing.

"People should honor their price point year-round, which is what we do even in times of hurricanes," Simon said.

As long as the need persists, Menehune and Aloha will continue to sell more bottled water at Will Call to customers frustrated by sold-out signs and empty store shelves.

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