Louisville Magazine

JUL 2016

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

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18 LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 7.16 LIBA Partner Pages louisvillepuretap.com Louisville Water Company is one of the original businesses in Louisville, and it has grown up and fourished right along with the city on the banks of the Ohio River. For almost 160 years, Louisville Water has been keeping it local. "We think of ourselves as a lifeline to the community — to restaurants, barber shops and schools," said Kelley Dearing Smith, strategic communications and government relations director at Louisville Water. "We frst pumped water here in 1860. Our frst customers were distilleries and grain elevators. Louisville Water has a very local feel." The city's historic Louisville Water Tower is the oldest ornamental water tower in the United States and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It's Greek-style design blends architectural beauty with industrial efciency. Smith said the quality of a city's water signifcantly afects its quality of life. Louisville Water has some of the purest award-winning water of any city in the nation, so much so that in 1996 Louisville Water became the frst utility in the country to trademark its own water. The result —"Louisville pure tap®" — is a grass-roots marketing campaign that includes cups, bottles, pitchers, mobile water units and even branded drinking water fountains to not only serve water but promote it as one of the of the outstanding natural resources of the city. "The purity of our water says a lot about the quality of life here in Louisville," Smith said. "It also contributes largely to economic development." Louisville Water provides water to about 850,000 people in the metro area and delivers an average of 121 million gallons of drinking water a day. Through a riverbank fltration system, it accesses a "green supply" of water using the sand and gravel in the earth as a natural flter. "We take a lot of pride in the quality of our water," Smith said. "We don't get a do-over in our business. We have to get it right the frst time." Smith said Louisville Water is proud to be one of the oldest businesses in the city, and it embraces and supports other locally owned businesses whether start-ups or multi-generation family businesses. "Franchises can come and go," Smith said, "but the locally owned businesses are here to stay." Louisville Water, an active Louisville Independent Business Alliance member for years, has established a "Purely Local" program to serve and promote local businesses. Louisville Water talks about its linkage to local businesses on its website in exchange for promotion of Louisville Water's award-winning tap water on local companies' menus, signage or other marketing materials. Smith said the goal of its "Purely Local" program is to raise awareness among residents and businesses about the role of a high-quality supply of water in the community and the unique and outstanding local retail and service companies in town. "For all of us, it's easy to get comfortable in a 2- or 3-mile radius of our homes," Smith said. "It's about building awareness. It's so easy to go into a large supercenter and get what you need. But you have to stop and think about going to local stores." Smith equated shopping locally to eating healthy — you have to be aware and conscious to make good choices, and then the result is feeling great and discovering unique opportunities. Smith encourages other local businesses to join LIBA because she said it is a great organization and "there is power in numbers." "Just being part of a larger movement is inspiring," said Smith, adding that networking and mentoring opportunities abound in LIBA. "I think frst and foremost you have to know your audience," said Smith when refecting on what makes Louisville Water and any local company successful. "You have to evolve. That doesn't mean you move away from your mission, it means that you're willing to add on and adjust as you grow." Profle by Rachel Reynolds Pictured above: Nik Wohlleb, Joe Lueke, Kelley Dearing Smith

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