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The Number 7
Photo: Dawn Hudson
What do gum, bottled water and the seven deadly sins of the world have in common? For entrepreneur Tyler Merrick they combine to create the business he founded and named Project 7. His company is part business and part outreach. Merrick hopes that his do-good-earth-friendly products will inspire others, change lives and make the world a better place.

Each 16.9 ounce bottle of water sells for $1.50 as does a 12-piece package of Project 7 gum.While that may seem a tad pricy in this economy one has to consider Merrick’s business model’s twist. At the end of each year his company will donate 50 percent of its profit to nonprofit organizations that his consumers select. In fact Tyler has committed to donating $105,000.00 (US) no matter what the company’s actual profits are this first year.

So where do the seven deadly sins come into the Project 7 equation? Merrick wants to “change the score” of the number of people in need. Each bottle of water has a conversation-starting word Tyler selected for the seven general causes his company targets. The bold, black lettering making up the seven different themes is followed by two small-print words that paints a word picture of what Mr. Merrick considers key to overcoming seven sins of our world: HOPE for peace; BUILD the future; SAVE the earth; FEED the hungry; HOUSE the homeless; HELP those in need and HEAL the sick.

For each theme there is a coordinating color symbol below the words. Hope for peace shows a peace symbol. On the build- the-future bottle there is a puzzle piece. Save the earth displays a globe of the world. Feed the hungry has a fork and spoon emblem. House—you guessed it, a house! Help those in need puts two hands--hand-in-hand. Heal the sick contains the loop, a logo frequently used for the campaign against Aids/HIV.

Orange, Purple and Green

The sugar-free-naturally-flavored gum comes in orange, purple and green packages. The orange contains a mango mint flavor and is dedicated to HOUSE the homeless. The purple, peppermint vanilla flavor features the words FEED the hungry. SAVE the earth’s fresh mint flavor is in a green package.

Project 7’s products are all made in the USA. The water is bottled regionally across the country to eliminate the carbon footprint of trucking goods long distance. The products are packed in boxes rather than trays so that more bottles can fit into a single truck for shipping. While he’d prefer not to use plastic for Project 7 water bottles Tyler encourages consumers to refill and recycle the bottles. The company’s T-shirts are made from recycled plastic and natural cotton.

The 7th day of each month the office is closed. This is the day Tyler Merrick and his seven employees are out in their community volunteering their time.

While Project 7 gum and water can be ordered by the case on the Project 7 website you may be able to find the products at a Whole Foods market or at a specialty retailer near you. Why not serve a conversation-starting beverage at your next event that just might make a difference and be good for you too? As a Project 7 consumer you can then help select the non-profit organizations or suggest a cause for Project 7 to sponsor in your community or in our world. You’ll find more details at www.project7.com.

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By Carole Kilcher. Copyright © 2011 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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