& Free Trip to Margaritaville
It’s a well-known fact that water is essential to humans. After all, our bodies are composed of 55 to 60 percent water (depending upon if you are an adult male or female), and it is needed for various essential functions such as regulating body temperatures, supporting brain activity, and carrying oxygen throughout the body, to name a few.
When Tonia Malone decided to start her own business, it wasn’t by accident. For many years, she suffered with severe acid reflux. “I didn’t know what was wrong with me, and neither did the doctors.” When finally diagnosed, she was given a medication which actually made her symptoms worse. “I could hardly eat,” said Tonia, “and taking acid blockers was not a good long-term solution either.” She began doing her own research about the possible benefits of drinking alkaline water, and soon after began experimenting with it. Eventually, she began noticing she was no longer having problems with her acid reflux, was finally able to eat without experiencing severe burning and pain, and was able to maintain a regular diet. After prolonged use, she decided to get retested for acid reflux, and the results were greatly improved, but she was spending anywhere between $300 – 500 a month–thousands of dollars a year. According to Tonia, back then she was ordering alkaline water from Canada and was paying $8 a gallon (including shipping), “It was very expensive,” she said. “Today, it is much more affordable and accessible for everyone.” Tonia says she has been drinking alkaline water ever since, and because she has had such a positive experience with it, she and her husband Anthony became big advocates. “Since it helped me, I thought maybe it can help others as well,” said Tonia. Using her background in business, Drink Smart Plus was started with the help of the entire family. Tonia recognizes the amazing engineering support of her loving husband, their daughter Sherrell (an environmentalist and a graduate of Texas A&M), as well as her parents, Clord and Beulah Merritt.
In 2016, Drink Smart Plus first opened in the Walden area, then moved two years later to their current location at 17156 W FM1097 #2 in Montgomery. In addition to offering alkaline water, they also provide home water filtration systems, a convenient option for customers who live far away and are unable to drive down once a month. Water filtration systems are usually placed underneath kitchen sinks or countertops. Tonia says they are very cost-effective and eliminate the need to pick up heavy bottles. The alkaline water bottles come in various sizes ranging from 16.9 oz. to 2, 3, and 5 gallons. “Customers can either purchase bottles here or bring their own bottles to refill,” said Tonia. They also have alkaline nugget ice, which she says is similar to SONIC ice in shape and size. It is made fresh at Drink Smart Plus and can be purchased in a 10 lb. bag.
Other merchandise offered in their store includes CBD products, health and wellness vitamins, and essential oils. Tonia also offers foot and hand reflexology, along with ionic foot baths to help rid your body of toxins. Using a foot and hand chart to guide them, this practice involves applying pressure to parts of your hands and feet which correspond to other parts of the body. Tonia states both men and women can benefit from a reflexology and ionic foot bath session, which includes salt lamps, soft lighting, and soothing music to help you relax during your scheduled time. Reflexology is believed to aid with detoxification and relaxation, which can help relieve stress and anxiety, as well as improve sleep. These sessions are by appointment only, and last about an hour.
Many people ask, “What is alkaline water?” Alkaline water is a pH balanced water–basically water that has been cleaned through a filtration system referred to as “reverse osmosis (RO).” This is a multi-state process which first removes all contaminants, then is treated with an ultraviolet light system to eliminate any remaining viruses or bacteria, and then goes through a re-mineralization process to control the pH levels.
The water’s pH level determines how acidic it is, and can range anywhere between 0 and 14, with 7 being considered a neutral balance of acidic and alkaline. If the level is below 7, it is considered acidic, and if it is higher than 7, it is more alkaline, “But we put back trace minerals such as magnesium, calcium, and potassium that are good for your body,” said Tonia. “At Drink Smart Plus, our water is between a 9.5 – 10.5 pH. People love it for their coffee, tea, and say it makes them taste better.” In fact, Tonia says both of her granddaughters, Nahla and Cierra, love it! “They are my biggest fans,” said Tonia. It is also important to note that the pH level in tap water may vary as opposed to regular bottled water. Ultimately, Tonia advises it’s important to do what you feel is right for you. She knows she has benefited from it, as have many of her customers.
Originally from the Houston area, Tonia says she likes her business just the way it is, because it creates a small family type of atmosphere. Although her customers are mostly from the Montgomery area, where she and Anthony currently live with their six dogs, she also has customers that come from Huntsville, Conroe, Katy, and throughout the Houston area. “My customers are like part of my family,” said Tonia. When they come in, they always exchange great conversations, lots of hugs, and she always wants to get their feedback. “If I were younger,” Tonia explained, “I may have thoughts of expanding, but my mother is 96 years old and needs a lot of care, and my husband and I would like to do a little traveling. Also, when my grandchildren go to the zoo, I want to be able to go with them. If I expand out, I would not have the time.”
To learn more about Drink Smart Plus, and their products, visit them on Facebook, Instagram, or stop by their new location on FM 1097.
Drink Smart Plus
17156 W FM-1097, Ste 2
Montgomery, TX 77356