Wall Drug Store
Wall, South Dakota
If your idea of vacation fun is jostling elbows with humanity intent on exploring every shelve of tacky tourist souvenirs don’t miss Wall Drug Store in Wall, South Dakota. Indeed if you’re traveling within a hundred miles of Wall it would be hard to miss. At every opportunity a Wall Drug Store billboard has been constructed. Imagine – Free Ice Water, Cafe That Seats 530, Donuts, Ice Cream, 5 Cent Coffee – on and on. Wow, can you stand the anticipation?
Dorothy and Ted Hustead purchased the only drug store in Wall, SD in late 1931 (in the midst of the Great Depression). Struggling to make a go of the venture in 1936 Dorothy came up with the idea of offering free ice water. The advertising campaign begun. The Hustead family still runs the business; and, gives out thousands of glasses of free ice water each day.
The large indoor structure is divided into individual retail spaces similar to an indoor mall. it’s all Wall Drug. Jewelry, moccasins, shot glasses, books, Western art, or perhaps you’re in need of a ceramic rooster – whatever your heart desires. And, yes there is a drug counter.
Personal Disclaimer: We went to Wall Drug Store on a hot July day after exploring Badlands National Park and having a less than satisfactory lunch experience in a local eatery. Wall Drug was packed, I was tired, grumpy and still had things to do and miles to drive before we slept that night. Perhaps at another time I would find the store fascinating, after all they’ve expanded and stayed in business for 83 years.
I will admit to bellying up to the ice cream counter for soft serve with caramel topping so it wasn’t all negative. I bet if I’d looked hard enough I could have found a “Wall Drug – Been There, Done That” t-shirt. After all, two million visitors a year can say, “Been there, done that.”
When You Go: Wall Drug Store, 510 Main Street, Wall, South Dakota (not a chance you could miss it), 605-279-2175, www.walldrug.com. If you can’t make it to Wall you can always shop online!