The Associated Press
SHOSHONI, Wyo. (AP) – The landmark Yellowstone Drug store, famous for its so-thick-you-need-a-spoon shakes and malts, is for sale.
Owners Bev and Ted Surrency, who have owned the store since 1996, plan to retire when a buyer is found.
“We have really enjoyed living in Shoshoni and meeting all different kinds of people. But we are ready,” Bev Surrency said Tuesday.
Three people have so far expressed interest in buying the store, including store employee Mary Lou Fullerton, who grew up on a nearby farm.
“I’d like to own this place so that I can keep the money in the community as opposed to someone else running it from out of town,” she said as she scooped ice cream to make one of the store’s coveted malts.
“Whenever we would come into town, this is the first place (my family) would come.”
The store is a stop for thousands headed to Yellowstone National Park, Jackson, Thermopolis or Casper. It sold as many as 727 malts in one day, on May 29, 2000, and more than 65,000 that year alone.
Yellowstone Drug has been in business since 1909. The store moved to the former C.H. King Bank building in the 1950s.
It has been featured in newspapers nationwide and is visited by tourists from all over the world.
“My favorite story is one where this family from Wyoming moved to Scotland,” Fullerton said. “The little boy was telling his class he was from Wyoming and another little boy said, ‘My family went on vacation in Wyoming. I had a malt.’”
The store survived the economic downturns of the 1970s and 1980s, when Shoshoni nearly became a ghost town. Business over the past seven years has been booming.
“In 1994, the shop sold 34,642 shakes and malts,” Surrency said.
“In the first three years we owned it, we made over 60,000 shakes and malts (per year) and made $400,000 gross.”
The town’s economic prospects have been looking up as well. A grocery store recently opened next door to Yellowstone Drug.
“Shoshoni hasn’t really had a grocery store for a while,” she said.
She said that before the Surrencys took over the store did not have regular hours and not nearly the amount of merchandise it now has.
The store offers Wyoming-made cowboy boots, freeze-dried rattlesnakes, rocks, T-shirts and other knickknacks. A closet off the dining room is a veritable museum to the USS San Diego, the ship on which Ted Surrency served during World War II, and is filled with hats, newspaper clippings and letters from shipmates.
All the Surrencys’ Shoshoni property is for sale including a saddle shop building, three rental houses, a wooden Indian, an old phone booth from Natrona County High School and a custom-built casket.
“We initially moved here because the school is wonderful,” said Bev Surrency, who with her husband is raising a 12-year-old granddaughter.
“But it almost seems like there are two types of people in Shoshoni: Those that want to see the community grow and get cleaned up and those who want it to stay the same.”
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