Living Well

The Locally Made Water Bottle You Need to Beat the SWFL Heat

Coldest, a homegrown company, pushes the limits to invent the coldest-possible products, from water bottles to dog bowls.

BY June 29, 2023
Coldest Water Bottle
David Stark launched the Fort Myers brand with a water bottle that keeps drinks cold for up to 36 hours. They’ve now expanded to include cooling bedding and pet accessories. (Photo by Anna Nguyen)

Like most things in the fitness world, water bottles have become just as much about aesthetics as functionality, but why can’t you combine the two? And better yet, why not engineer a bottle that guarantees water stays ice-cold all day, from the house to the car to the gym and after? Brothers David and Joe Stark created the ideal solution: a stainless steel, double-wall, vacuum-insulated bottle that keeps water colder longer than any other of the mainstream brand on the market—up to nearly 36 hours. Despite the big-name competitors in the reusable water bottle business, The Coldest Water Bottle stands out—it’s more insulated, and, unlike others, the lid is insulated, too.

After graduating from Florida State University in 2010 with a degree in civil engineering, David spent the next few years working in public utilities and operations with the Collier County Government while trying to start his own business on the side. When his older brother, Joe, brought home an insulated water bottle and set it on the kitchen table, everything seemed to click for David. “This was [2015] before insulated bottles were big, and I thought I could make the product a lot better,” he says. “I wanted to create what most Americans want when they drink water—for it to be as cold as possible.”

He spent the next year reaching out to factories for samples, comparing and contrasting bottles while prototyping his version. He performed cold tests on more than 40 competitors before engineering the line’s signature bottle, which is leak-free, fits in 99 percent of cup holders, floats in pools, and keeps liquid cold for 36 hours or hot for more than 13.

What started as a hydration company is now an “everything store,” as David puts it. He expanded the concept to other types of drinkware, like mugs and tumblers, as well as bedding. He designs the sheets, pillowcases and comforters to feel luxurious and cozy while staying cool—an important consideration in Southwest Florida. The temperature-regulating, bamboo-derived viscose fabric is breathable, moisture-wicking and feels silky against your skin. 

And, they didn’t stop there. Wanting his four dogs to feel just as comfortable, David started testing pet bowls, beds and collars with his pups, Simba, Keywei, Dobei and Nala, at his home in Naples’ Golden Gate Estates. “I can tell if it’s good if the dogs choose this bed over mine,” he jokes.

When brainstorming ideas, David and the company’s COO, Joe, consider whether a product has the potential to be the coldest in its category. That’s why they shortened the business name simply to COLDEST. “We ask, will this product shock and impress us?” David says. “Our goal is to become like Nike or Adidas in time, and for us, it’s all about hitting on our purpose—can we make this product a better, colder one? When we do that, magic happens.”

Working out of a 15,000-square-foot warehouse space in Fort Myers, David and his team of nearly 20 local employees now rank in the top 500 of the Inc. 5000 Fastest-Growing Private Companies in America. Three full-time cold testers (all Florida Gulf Coast University seniors) test products against competitor brands so David can keep innovating and designing, with plans for three new types of pillows for different sleepers.

And, they keep improving on the classic Coldest water bottle, the crux of the company, rated one of the best reusable water bottles by Forbes, Men’s Health and Mashable. David’s next project blends what he’s worked on these past eight years: a universal master bottle that serves as everything from a coffee cup to a cocktail shaker, so you won’t need to change cups when switching drinks. “We’re trying to make enough noise to catch attention and put Naples and Fort Myers on the map,” David says. 

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