Meet The First Black Woman To Own A Spring Water Bottling Plant In New York
Photo Credit: Thirdman

Photo Credit: Thirdman

Meet The First Black Woman To Own A Spring Water Bottling Plant In New York

Parker Diakite
Parker Diakite May 7, 2021

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

For years,  Paulla had discussed the importance of financial literacy and entrepreneurship with her twin sons. On their 20th birthday, the young men launched their own water distribution company called New York Water Boys.

When the pandemic began, her sons were forced to start home water deliveries. Soon after, bodegas in the city became customers, and they eventually landed a contract with 21 local supermarkets.


When Paulla noticed her sons’ success, she asked the supermarkets if they would carry a private label water brand to support her nonprofit, Youth Savings Society: a financial literacy and education program for students in grades K-12.

The stores agreed and the rest is history.

During her quest to find a water company, Paulla and her children met with the 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 in May 2020 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 woman-owned springs water bottling plant in the state of New York. 


As water becomes a scarce resource worldwide, it is predicted to increase value and become more valuable than gold over the next 50 years. McCarthy said major water companies have inquired about her plant, even offering her to sell her property for $20 million. But she has no intentions of letting it go.

“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.

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