The story of HyGrade Lotion began when C.D. Smith, a 20-year-old registered pharmacist, bought a drug store at the corner of 5th and Main in Grand Junction, Colorado. That was in 1900, and after a decade Mr. Smith owned eight stores in western Colorado — the state's first chain of drug stores. In 1910 he sold his stores to his managers and he established the C.D. Smith Wholesale Drug Company, which eventually served retail drug stores in western Colorado, eastern Utah, northern New Mexico, and parts of Arizona and Wyoming. 

It's very dry here in western Colorado, and C.D. Smith thought that there was a need for an all-weather skin lotion that could be used for sunburn, dry skin, and other skin ailments. He knew which healing ingredients he wanted to use, but he also wanted something which would penetrate into the skin for deeper, long-lasting healing. He thought that perhaps a very small amount of ammonia could cut through skin oils long enough to allow the healing ingredients to work, so he and his son Burrell tested his theory and found that it worked. HyGrade Lotion quickly became the leading skin lotion on the Colorado Plateau, and has had remarkably loyal customers since it was put on the market in 1924.