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The story of Wall Drug began in 1931 when Nebraska native Ted Hustead purchased the small and locally-known shop as a way to make his living.
In the beginning, times were tough, and the Husteads saw barely any traffic, which is when they resorted to their most iconic marketing campaign: advertising "free ice water" to weary interstate travelers driving to and from Mount Rushmore.
As luck would have it, "free ice water" did the trick for Wall Drug, which began welcoming more customers by the day, leading them to try out even more print and billboard advertising like "Get a soda . . . Get a root beer . . . turn next corner . . . Just as near . . . To Highway 16 & 14. . . Free Ice Water. . . Wall Drug."
In addition to their signs and billboards around South Dakota, signs for Wall Drug began popping up around the United States AND other countries, including one placed by Ted in the London Underground advertising that Wall Drug was only 5,160 miles away and that if they wrote, he would send them information on both the store and state.
At one point, the Husteads were receiving 12 to 20 letters and inquires each day!
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