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Meet the 1st Black Woman in New York to Own a Spring Water Bottling Plant

Paulla McCarthy, a single Black mom from NYC, is the owner of YSS WaterWorks, a spring water bottling plant in upstate New York. She has made history as the first Black woman to own and operate this type of business in the entire state!

In October 2020, McCarthy officially acquired the water plant and an aquifer within 15 acres of land from an elderly couple who offered it to her. She now operates the water bottling plant under her non-profit, Youth Savings Society.

As water becomes more insufficient globally, it is predicted to increase value and even become more valuable than gold over the next 50 years. Some major water companies have been offering her to sell her property for $20 million, but she is determined to keep it as she values the importance of Black ownership in natural resources.

“I’m not going to sell. I want to change and move this narrative that we don’t own anything,” McCarthy told Earn Your Leisure.

About YSS Waterworks

What started out as a road trip to taste the water in Poestenkill, New York led Paulla McCarthy to become the first African American woman in New York State to own and operate a water bottling company.

Paulla had been stressing the importance of financial literacy and entrepreneurship to her twin sons. On their 20th birthday, the young men started a water distribution company called New York Water Boys. During this time, the Covid-19 pandemic began ravaging New York City, forcing the twins to start water home deliveries. Several bodegas became customers, and eventually, they landed a contract with 21 local supermarkets. At seeing their success, Paulla asked the supermarkets if they would carry a private label water brand to support her nonprofit, Youth Savings Society (YSS), a financial literacy and education program for students in K-12 grades. They loved her story, purpose, and agreed to carry her water. This prompted her to seek out a water company on the Department of Health website, based on its water quality, and set her on a trip to taste the water. 

In May 2020, Paulla and her children met the original water plant owners, an elderly couple, who eventually offered to sell her their 15 acres of land, including an Aquifer also known as “The Spring.” Their day trip turned into five months of her learning the process of everything she could about the bottling industry, before becoming the owner.

On October 1st, 2020, YSS officially acquired the bottling plant making YSS the first Black women-owned springs water bottling plant in New York. 

Paulla was born and raised in Brooklyn New York. She is the mother of 3 children and a nurse by profession.

For more information about Paulla McCarthy and her company, visit www.ysswaterworks.com

Also, follow Paulla on Instagram @PaullaMcCarthy

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