JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — In a world where women are dominating industries across the nation each day, Savita Jones is making a trailblazing mark right here on the Westside of Jacksonville with one bottled water at a time.
The 37-year-old and mother of two is the CEO and founder of AlkaVita Alkaline Water, LLC, the first Black woman-owned alkaline water store in the U.S.
While many have heard of alkaline water, it's important to know how it’s different from regular bottled water. “Alkaline water is bioavailable, meaning the molecular clusters of the water are small enough to get through the cell membrane, so whatever minerals and nutrients are in the water can easily be absorbed by your cells, which is what you want,” Jones said.
By definition, a substance is alkaline if it has a pH of over seven, according to experts at Mayo Clinic.
“Other bottled waters are basically reverse osmosis. Purified water which is basically dead water has no minerals, no nutrients and the molecular clusters are a lot bigger, so it’s hard for whatever that could be good in the water to get through in your cell membrane,” Jones said.
The CEO added that you could be drinking lots of regular bottled water but you are not being hydrated because the nutrients aren’t getting to your cells properly.
Different brands of alkaline water are sold in most grocery store chains around the country. However, the birth of AlkaVita Alkaline Water came from a small convenience store in downtown Jacksonville.
“We initially just wanted a product to sell at the store,” Jones explained. It was an idea to help with tailgate deliveries on game days but took off after catching the eye of someone who worked with former NFL star Michael Vick. The water went from being a tailgate accessory to being a beverage sponsor for Vick’s football camp, which included touring in different cities.
Jones’ business took off faster than expected and even though she could’ve launched her store anywhere in the country, she selected Jacksonville to be a part of her historic endeavor. “This is my home. I’m from here and I even moved back and forth from Orlando to Jacksonville contemplating where I wanted to start my business, and I was just like I need to come home,” Jones said.
Setting up shop in the Murray Hill area was intentional as well. To a community that has always been a supportive part of Jones’ life, she plans on offering free water testing and educating residents on healthy water options. The Jacksonville native also plans on offering internships and an apprenticeship program that will target young women and assist them in learning skills like plumbing, manufacturing and construction. One of Jones’ ultimate goals is to see how her company can help create more jobs in the community.
As a Black business owner, Jones says her success shows that African Americans can “produce businesses with our creativity and then turn it into profit. That profit can break generational curses that we had by not being able to understand financial literacy as a community.”
Contributing to the community doesn’t just stop here on the First Coast for Jones. In 2018, she hosted a water drive in Flint Michigan in partnership with Catholic Charities. During the water drive, Jones delivered free, clean water to dozens of residents.
“I’m still in shock because my work ethic is that I’m constantly going, so once I complete something then it’s like okay on to the next," Jones said. "But I realize as a business owner I need to stop and be thankful and appreciate it.”
Jones' lack of knowledge was an obstacle for her in the early stages of starting her business. “The adversity helped me to sit down and learn about the industry, the power the product held and how I can benefit from it and help others who are also faced with different adversities in their business,” Jones said.
As the entrepreneur looks forward to expanding her company, the official grand opening of the AlkaVita Alkaline Water Bar and Hydration Station will be held on Saturday from 12- 5 p.m. at 925 Edgewood Avenue South.
Right now, AlkaVita Alkaline Water is available to purchase online. Starting on Feb. 20, people will be able to come inside the store to purchase water and eventually have the option of bringing their own jugs and bottles to fill up at the water stations.
AlkaVita Alkaline Water has a mission of bringing good healthy clean water to the community and in doing so Jones says she is currently hiring people to help fulfill this mission along with providing jobs during the pandemic.
To learn more about AlkaVita Alkaline Water visit www.alkavita.life.