Whether on the Web or on the street, businesses need to attract traffic hopefully translating to paying customers to help that business prosper.
But a forgotten art is the ability to grab the attention of motorists on America’s roads and highways and convince them to pull over and have a look at what your business has to offer — even if they’re from out of the area and have never seen your business before.
As you drive through the U.S., you’ll see plenty of unique roadside stands and businesses that meet various needs of traveling consumers. If you look at some of those businesses, you might even get ideas about how you could better attract customers — no matter where your business is located — and really stand out from the competition. Here are 10 of the most unique roadside attraction businesses currently serving customers across the U.S.
Unique Roadside Attraction Businesses
The Haines Shoe House
Aside from being a building shaped like a shoe, the Haines Shoe House also serves as an ice cream shop in York, Pennsylvania. The house serves ice cream, beverages and baked treats. You can also get guided tours and stop by the gift shop for some Shoe House merchandise.
Delgadillo’s Snow Cap Drive-In
This historic eatery is located in Seligman, Arizona, along Route 66. The restaurant features some classic menu items with a humorous twist, such as the “cheeseburger with cheese” and “dead chicken.” The décor is also eclectic and kitschy, which is how Delgadillo’s original owner Juan Delgadillo attracted customers to the restaurant in the 1950’s.
Hole N” The Rock
Located in Utah’s Canyonlands Country, Hole N” The Rock actually includes multiple different tourist attractions, from art exhibits to an exotic zoo. But it also includes a souvenir shop where you can find Hole N” The Rock merchandise and a Trading Post store that sells Native American crafts, pottery, jewelry, dreamcatchers and other unique gifts. And of course, it’s all located in a hole carved out of the side of a huge rock.
Randy’s Donuts is a popular donut stand near Los Angeles. It’s located just off of the San Diego Freeway and open 24 hours a day. Aside from the quality donuts and refreshments, the stand obviously stands out thanks to the giant donut on the roof bearing the business’s name. So iconic is this ingenious piece of visual marketing that Randy’s Donuts is also known for appearing in movies like “Mars Attacks!” and “Volcano” and even music videos like Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Californication” and Randy Newman’s “I Love L.A.”
The Old Riverton Store
Located off of Historic Route 66 in Riverton, Kansas, the Old Riverton Store has been open since 1925. The store sells groceries, flowers, deli sandwiches, gifts, handcrafted items and a variety of historic Route 66 merchandise. The store is on the National Register of Historic Places and has gone through very little change since it opened back in the 1920’s proving that sometimes even keeping your business exactly the same can be a novelty.
Uranus Fudge Factory and General Store
Also along Historic Route 66, the Uranus Fudge Factory and General Store is part of a collection of businesses right off the highway in Saint Robert, Missouri. The business sells a variety of specialty fudge flavors made with all natural ingredients, along with gifts and souvenirs for sale.
Wall Drug Store
This South Dakota staple sells everything from burgers and homemade donuts to five-cent coffee. But Wall Drug actually gained notoriety because of its ice water. Since drivers often pass by the store on the way to popular tourist destinations like Mount Rushmore, founders Ted and Dorothy Hustead got the idea one day to offer free ice water to passersby. And those who stopped in for some water could also purchase ice cream or other merchandise as well. Yeah, the big Jackalope out front perfect for photos with your kids and the store’s trademark hand painted roadside signs are also a big draw.
Hood Milk Bottle
This popular landmark is actually a part of the Boston Children’s Museum. The Hood Milk Bottle is a 40-foot tall milk bottle sculpture that has been located in Boston since 1977 when the Hood company shipped it by ferry to the city. It currently serves as a concession stand offering various ice cream flavors and other snacks outside of the museum.
Pops 66 Soda Ranch
Located in Arcadia, Oklahoma just off of Highway 66, the Pops 66 Soda Ranch offers 700 different types of soda, sparkling water and other cold beverages for customers wanting to take a break from their road trips. The business also has a full menu of food and shake selections. In addition, the roadside location features a large outdoor sculpture shaped like a soda bottle.
Unclaimed Baggage Center
If you’ve ever wondered what happens to all of those lost or unclaimed items that airline passengers leave on planes or conveyor belts, look no further. The Unclaimed Baggage Center in Scottsboro, Alabama, purchases that unclaimed luggage from airlines, cleans and repurposes it, then sells it in a sort of thrift store setting.
Big Cowboy Photo via Shutterstock
I would definitely love to enter that shoe house. So unique. I think that it immediately catches the eyes of millenials.
I think it catches the eyes of so many different people!