Location: Wall, South Dakota
In the depths of the Depression, Ted Hustead’s grandmother drew up signs offering travelers free ice water in order to draw business to her husband’s struggling pharmacy in a tiny town near a nascent Mount Rushmore. Today, Wall’s billboards stretch as far as Minnesota and the store, restaurant and gift shop see as many as 15,000 visitors on a summer day. “We’re on our second- and third-generation customer,” says Hustead, grandson of the founders. “Grandparents want to share an experience that they had when they were a kid.”
That experience has evolved “to entertain, educate and do it with world-class aesthetics,” says Hustead. Famous for its ubiquitous bumper stickers, Wall displays a priceless collection of Western art. In addition to its Yosemite and Rushmore souvenir sales, the Husteads do a half-million dollar trade in cowboy boots alone.