Wall Drug Store: Internationally Famous Signs

December 30, 2013

Wall Drug Store, also known as Wall Drug, is a main tourist attraction in South Dakota and is internationally known.  Wall Drug Store is a shopping mall featuring a drug store, restaurants, gift shops, and other various shops all owned by Wall Drug Store.  The New York Times has said that Wall Drug is "a sprawling tourist attraction of international renown [that] takes in more than $10 million a year and draws some two million annual visitors to a remote town."  While this is quite an amazing accomplishment, the main reason why Wall Drug is internationally known is due to the famous signs they have produced to market Wall Drug.  Let’s first take a look at the unique history of Wall Drug Store and dive deeper into how they created some of the most famous signs in the world.

History of Wall Drug Store

The drug store first stepped into the spotlight after it was purchased by Ted Hustead in 1931.  Wall Drug was located in Wall, South Dakota and at that point only had 231 residents in town.  During this time period business was very slow due to the Great Depression.  Ted’s wife, Dorothy, came up with the idea to advertise free ice water to thirsty travelers heading west to the newly opened Mount Rushmore Monument.  From that point on, Wall Drug grew incorporating more shops, a soda fountain, a museum, a chapel, Western outfitter store, and much more.

Marketing Wall Drug Store

At first the signs were handmade which advertised the free ice water.  Today, there are many signs not only advertising the free ice water but also how many miles until you get to Wall Drug Store.  These famous signs can be found every few miles on Interstate 90 for the 650 mile- long stretch. The billboards can even be found in neighboring states such as Minnesota and Montana.

These famous signs do not stop in the United States, they can be found throughout the world.  Wall Drug has been advertised on road signs in Paris, Amsterdam, Rome, and even on the famous double decker buses of London.  Visitors can also receive a free sign if they promise to display it and return a photo of the new location.  Snapshots line the walls of Wall Drug Store with signs even being displayed in the North and South Poles.

The famous signs and billboards of Wall Drug has helped as many as 20,000 tourists a day stop by Wall Drug during the summer.  Wall Drug has blossomed into a 12 shop mall and a restaurant seating 500 people. 

Wall Drug Store has a rich history not only in South Dakota but internationally, due to their famous signs which can be seen throughout the world.  For more information on creating famous signs for your business or organization contact Conrad’s Big “C” signs at (605) 348-8744, the leader in Rapid City signs.

Last Modified: 12-30-2013-15:25:06