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Local sparkling water business overcomes pandemic challenges, lands Whole Foods deal

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Posted at 8:37 AM, Aug 03, 2021

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - It was five years ago now, but Megan Riggs remembers it vividly.

The Virginia Beach native was working a job in Los Angeles and for the first time in her life, struggling with anxiety. A change was in order, she says.

"I moved to Thailand and got into all things 'Crunchy.' Just living a simple, fresh, plant-based lifestyle," Riggs told News 3 of the transforming year in southeast Asia.

Moving home and determined to bring that same peace to others, Riggs started Crunchy Carrot, a juice company that proved challenging and time-consuming.

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Megan Riggs inspiration for Crunchy Hydration came during a transformative year in Thailand.

In late 2019, the focus shifted to sparkling water. Riggs kept the 'Crunchy' concept she'd developed and added 'Hydration.'

"All the herbs and nootropics that I put in there are things I've taken for ten years that have helped me personally," she said.

Crunchy Hydration is described as a sparkling, adaptogenic herbal water, with four flavors accomplishing different goals, whether it be an energy boost or calming effect, through natural ingredients like herbs, or in two flavors, CBD.

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Crunchy Hydration is led by Megan Riggs (L) and Kim Beachum (R) as one of the few women-owned businesses in the beverage industry.

Within months, however, the COVID-19 pandemic arrived, shutting down the Yoga studios and gyms to which Riggs was marketing. An aluminum shortage affecting canning soon followed.

But the business pulled through and began making a name for itself, catching the attention of J.C. Campagna, then player for the Norfolk Admirals hockey team, who shared it with his teammates.

"I was getting nothing but positive feedback so I reached out and I said hey, obviously this product is awesome. Let me know if I can be involved in any way, either as someone to help sell or even as an investor," Campagna told News 3 from his home in Columbus, Ohio.

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Professional hockey player and former Norfolk Admiral J.C. Campagna joined the Crunchy Hydration team as Chief Marketing Officer.

Together with Campagna, now the company's Chief Marketing Officer, Riggs and COO Kim Beachum have doubled 2020 sales in the first seven months of 2021.

"(We're) projected to do over $500,000 in sales over the next calendar year," said Campagna.

Crunchy Hydration is now available in seven states with more than 200 locations selling the sparkling water, including Whole Foods, which began stocking it in July.

Riggs says she's readying a version of the product with alcohol and once the business is steady, she hopes to start a non-profit for the nutritionally underserved, both locally and in Thailand where the idea for Crunchy first came to her.

For now, this women-owned business will settle for breaking barriers in a male-dominated industry.

"Even going to some of the beverage conferences, I remember thinking, 'Wow, am I one of five women here?,'" Riggs told News 3.

But at this point, it only fuels Riggs' fire to bring 'Crunchy' to the masses.

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