Tuesday, March 22, 2005

New deal for Trump Ice from Apprentice Show.

Abottled water company in Marlboro that's less than six months old has landed a regional
distribution deal for Trump Ice spring water. That's Trump, as in Donald Trump.

Trump Ice may be familiar to fans of Trump's successful TV show "The Apprentice." In the first season, Trump had two teams of Apprentice candidates see how much Trump Ice they could sell in two days. "It's enormous in putting us on the map," said Mike Petrosino, president and chief executive officer of Mountain Spring Waters of America LLC. "How much is it worth? I can't put a price tag on it. It could be worth millions." Kelly Perdew, "The Apprentice" second-season winner and the Trump Ice owner's representative, said Mountain Spring exemplifies the excellence Donald Trump and the Trump Organization are always seeking. "They came at us with just a stellar presentation of the different ways that they were going to market the product that was consistent with the branding and the image that Mr. Trump wants to portray," Perdew said. "Mountain Spring is one of the first distributors that's really gotten active on a marketing front." Mountain Spring also scored an agreement in January with the Lakewood BlueClaws when the company was named the official bottled-water provider of the Ocean County Class A minor-league baseball team through 2008. In October, longtime water industry veterans Petrosino, 41, of Marlboro, and Tom Battista, 47, of Woodbridge, Mountain Spring's vice president of operations, teamed up with Red Bank lawyer John Perrone, 46, Mountain Spring's legal counsel and communications director, to launch the privately held venture. Battista and Petrosino each entered the water business back in the 1980s as route drivers with Poland Spring, working together to help build the brand through the '90s, they said. After more than a decade at Poland Spring, the two men moved to Glacier Waters, earning an ownership interest in the Fairfield-based firm. When the pair left Glacier early last year, they took as part of their severance agreements South Jersey accounts worth about $250,000 a year and the private-label rights. Mountain Spring offers Pennsylvania spring water in 12-ounce, half-liter, 20-ounce and 1.5-liter bottles and 3- and 5-gallon jugs for water coolers under the Glacier Hills and Glacier Mountain brands. Private-label bottles for functions like birthdays and weddings are also available. They have been distributing nearly 10,000 gallons of water per month so far, and they anticipate at least $350,000 in sales this year, Petrosino said. The opening of baseball season will see the full rollout of sports-collectible bottles with BlueClaws players, something the team tested last year. Brandon Marano, BlueClaws director of operations, said there's added value in partnering with a local business. "Part of the BlueClaws is being a part of the community, and any local business that can be involved with us or that we can be involved with is just an added benefit to us and that company and the community. We're here for each other," Marano said, adding that the team saw a great opportunity with the private-label program. The in-stadium product will feature pictures of fan favorites, such as pitcher Gavin Floyd, who made it to the big-league Philadelphia Phillies last season, and Buster, the BlueClaws' mascot, during the upcoming season, which runs from opening night on April 7 through Labor Day. The company operates out of 1,500 square feet of space at its distribution hub in Marlboro, where it shares a warehouse with Mikey's Ice Cream Inc., the official Italian ice vendor of the BlueClaws. Mountain Spring's sales division and corporate headquarters are located at Perrone's Bank Law offices. Petrosino said Mountain Spring farms out some of its deliveries to trucking services, but he and Battista spend much of their days on the road dropping off water and meeting customers. ___


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