McCarthy’s journey to becoming a water mogul started with a simple idea: to sell bottled water to raise funds for her nonprofit. She gave her twin sons $1,600 to buy pallets of water from BJs and sell them on the street, during the pandemic. The boys quickly expanded their business, called The New York Water Boys, and landed contracts with 21 supermarkets and bodegas.
McCarthy wanted to create her own private label water brand to support YSS, so she searched for a water source online. She found a spring water bottling plant in Poestenkill, New York, owned by an elderly couple who wanted to retire. She drove there with her children to taste the water, and ended up buying the plant and the 15 acres of land that contained an aquifer.
“I didn’t know anything about water. I just knew I wanted to own something,” McCarthy said in an interview with Earn Your Leisure. “I wanted to change and move this narrative that we don’t own anything.”
She officially acquired the plant in October 2020, and named it YSS WaterWorks. She learned everything she could about the water industry, from testing the quality of the water to operating the machinery. She also hired a team of experts to help her run the business.