It’s been four years since IB ClearWater opened its doors offering water that is better tasting and healthier for everyone. Owners Carl Bailey, his wife Sherri, and business partner Greg Hilderbrand are proud of helping residents be healthier and IB ClearWater becoming part of the community.
Carl Bailey and Hilderbrand are veterans who have been friends since the later 1980s. Bailey retired as a master chief after a 30 year career in the U.S. Navy working as a helicopter rescue swimmer. After retirement, Bailey worked at a water store and with the experience gained, he decided to strike it on his own. For the past few years in addition to working at the store, Bailey has been taking classes and working toward a Bachelor Degree in Criminal Justice, which he has now finished, graduating summa cum laude. These days Bailey teaches Criminal Justice at Southwestern College and he takes turns working at IB ClearWater with his wife and Sean, another team member.
IB ClearWater offers both filtered pure water and alkaline water. Customers can chose one type or mix the two, but regardless they’ll get the best tasting water.
“We take out the unknown…take bad stuff out and add beneficial minerals,” said Bailey of the process. The store has a back room where the water goes through a multi stage filtration process including reverse osmosis, carbon filtration and ultraviolet light scrubbing. Because tap water has parts per million in the hundreds, Bailey takes those impurities out to almost zero also removing fluoride and algae. To make alkaline water, Bailey and the other team members take the pure water and add beneficial minerals and raise the ph. The water is tested every day to make sure only the best product is offered for sale.
Mineralized alkaline water is rich in alkalizing minerals like calcium, potassium, magnesium, bicarbonate and silica and can provide daily calcium intake requirements between 1 and 20 percent. In addition drinking alkaline water 30 minutes before meals can help with digestion. Bailey does all the maintenance to the equipment himself and feels confident about the water he sells. “Our system takes care of our water and it makes its consistency good,” he said.
IB ClearWater sells BPA free water bottles of many different sizes from sports bottle to 10 gallons. He also can put together cases of water if requested.
Customers of IB ClearWater can clean and refill their own water bottles from the many refill stations in the store or can chose to have Bailey or another team member do it for them and even have the bottles carried to their cars.
“It’s been an exciting experience to watch us grow, the customer base is a lot of families that come in and bring their kids and pets,” said Bailey. “We literally watch families grow, and those who move in our out of town keep in touch. We’re part of the fabric of the community. It’s just as important to us as making money.”
Some people are attracted to come inside the store by the art and antiques for sale. Sherri Bailey who is an artist, displays her art there. Her creations range from wind chimes to rock art, rocks that are painted with the likeness of rock stars, and of course her specialty which are pet portraits. “Some people come in just for the art,” Carl Bailey said.
The store has been selling IB logo T-shirts with art work by Simo Designs which have been popular. “Sometimes we’re an art store that sells water,” he jokes.
Bailey credits his wife with being the heart and soul of the store. “She is the one that people remember,” he said.
IB ClearWater also delivers to between 30 and 40 private residences as well to many local restaurants like the Tin Fish and Luigi’s. Bailey has been considering opening a remote water distribution satellite in Coronado, since there is no water store there.
“‘Water is life’ is our motto. Everyone should look at buying water, it’s an investment in your health,” said Bailey.
He also pointed out that IB ClearWater is the only store that he knows of that lowered its prices three times. “We lowered the prices before COVID, during COVID and now we have lowered them permanently,” he said. Bailey explained that since the store has more customers he’s passing on the savings.
Bailey believes in helping others and is working on partnering with Meals on Wheels to deliver water for free to seniors in need. “The idea popped into our heads…I’ll pay for that, it’s one more way to help and maintain the level of the community store,” he said.
Bailey also said that he respects everyone’s views on masking. “I want you to feel safe whether you come in the store or stay in your car,” he said.
“You can feel it - if you drink this water for 30 days, you’ll feel better. We’re 73 percent water, we have to replace it as best as we can,” said Bailey.
ClearWater offers discounts for military, seniors, police officers and teachers.
IBClearWater, 238 Palm Avenue. Hours: Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday and Sunday. Call 619-369-9449.