New Owners Plan to Reopen Ouray Bottling Plant
by Christopher Pike
Mar 25, 2008 | 460 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
OURAY – The former BIOTA bottling plant in Ouray could soon reopen. The new owners of the facility, Texas-based Black Gold Organic Fertilizer, are presently in negotiations with potential investors, according to co-owner Darrell Boepple, with “some final few little steps” still to be taken.

“It’s finally come through pretty close to the bottom of the funnel,” Boepple told the Watch on Tuesday, March 18.

Boepple declined to disclose who the investor or investors are, but he stressed Black Gold does plan to reopen the facility, which is equipped to produce and distribute bottled water from the underground Weehawken Spring, Ouray’s primary water source.

“We intend to not let that plant die,” Boepple emphasized. “We want to keep it alive for Ouray; it’s an asset for the community.” Boepple added that in the last week he has spent over 80 hours in discussions regarding the plant. “There’s a lot of outside interest in the plant.”

Recently, failed negotiations put an end to a potential partnership between Black Gold and Craig Hinkson, a Ouray businessman and real estate developer. Hinkson confirmed that financing problems, as well as lawsuits involving the company, played a hand in the failed deal. “The funding fell through with the Alpine Bank board of directors. The first five directors had approved. Only two needed to object, and they did,” Hinkson said.

In November 2007, Black Gold purchased the entire plant and assets at auction for $3.8 million from UPS Capital Business Credit, a subsidiary of the United Parcel Service. The purchase included 35,000 square feet of warehouse and operating space. In January, Black Gold filed a lawsuit against UPS for the rights to the BIOTA packaging and name, which it alleged were included in the sale. Boepple said the firm is in the process of ending the suit, but he could not provide any details at press time.

UPS, BIOTA’s principal creditor, acquired the plant through foreclosure on BIOTA’s principal owners, David and Michael Zutler of Telluride, for $8.2 million in debt which had been accruing since July 2005.

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