Free ice water for everyone!

Hello there, good morning.

I’m always looking for great ways to market Mission Repair. Of course, a lot of it is done here on our blog, but we’ve got to come up with new ways to reach our customers. This means that I look at a lot of marketing on a daily basis, I try new things (if they don’t work, I stop!) and see what is helping other businesses get to their sales goals.

There’s a bit of marketing that seems to be pretty unique and you can see it all across the drive in South Dakota:

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Wall Drug (Store) has been in business for decades, and one of their “hooks” to get wary travelers to stop is to offer “Free Ice Water”. This was especially critical to some travelers back in the early 40’s.

In 1936, the owners of Wall Drug (who considered closing the place down due to slow sales) went to the highway and put up signs for free ice water. By the time they got back to the store, people had already begun showing up for their ice water. The owner’s wife was running all around to keep up.

“Five glasses of ice water, please,” a father called out.

“May I have a glass for Grandma?” a boy asked. “She’s in the car.”

They ran through their supply of cracked ice. So they chiseling more off the block.

“Say, good sir,” one traveler said in a Scottish brogue, “we’re going all the way to Yellowstone Park. Would you mind filling this jug with your water?”

“Hey this free ice water is a great idea,” said a salesman, sliding up onto a stool. “How about selling me an ice cream cone?”
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And there you have it. Free ice water was the key to separating themselves from the competition. The business was always there, it’s just sometimes we small business owners need to get out of our comfort zone and try something new.

I’ll admit that picture above is one that I took this summer. 60+ years later that store is still serving free ice water (and 5 cent coffee!) and it’s got me talking about it. I wonder what Mission Repair’s “Ice Water” marketing will be? I’m working on it.

Take care, Ryan

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