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City promotion is tough to miss

Phil Smith, owner of Smith Trucking, Worthington, shows off his recently completed trailer with 3M vinyl decals depicting scenes of and around Worthington. The decal work was done by Graphic Impressions of Hutchinson, Kan.

WORTHINGTON -- If you're traveling just about anywhere in the U.S. and happen to see a long, colorful semi-trailer on the Interstate promoting plentiful benefits of a community --well, that trailer may just be unique and visually appealing enough to cause you to look up that city on the Internet.

That's what Mike Smith of Smith Trucking -- as well as folks with the Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Convention and Visitors Bureau -- are hoping. The new, 53-foot long trailer was unveiled Friday night during the Chamber's annual meeting.

"I talked to them (Chamber) several years ago about it, but there wasn't much interest at that time," Smith recalled. "Then Darlene (Macklin, the Chamber's executive director) mentioned it back to me, and I said, 'I'm still interested in this.' That kind of got the ball rolling."

Smith explained that the trailer is, in essence, divided into three sections. Promoted are Worthington's historical sites, local festivals, and parks and recreation opportunities. A total of 10 area businesses are represented; five appear on each side.

"I had the main design on it and I worked with Aaron Ahlquist from HeadLiners," Smith said.

"Aaron kind of took my ideas, and there was a lot of back and forth on what we were looking for. There was a lot of time put into it."

That time investment, Smith said, will pay off in the finished product being seen on highways between here and Miami, Los Angeles, Seattle and the state of Maine.

"If you're an Internet user, all you have to do is google it and you'll get it," Smith said. "Someone's going to say, 'Worthington, Minnesota, let's go take a look at that.' It's a huge eye-catcher; it's something you're not going to miss."

Participating businesses have also been encouraged to utilize the trailer for special community events, Smith noted, as well as promote Worthington's annual King Turkey Day celebration. The trailer is refrigerated, Smith added, and will be an active part of a 100-truck operation that transports fresh meat, food perishables, produce, candy and pharmaceuticals across the country.

James Hill, of the Hutchinson, Kan.-based Graphic Impressions, was in town last week to complete the trailer. Work was done using a series of 3M 180 vinyl decals.

"We created the vinyl with a wide format ink jet printer," said Hill, who said he travels widely for such projects.

Macklin is certainly satisfied with the results.

"This is one of the most exciting projects that I have been involved in," she said. "Mike Smith and Smith Trucking should be commended on their generous support of this project. This is a project that all of Worthington can be proud of."

"When we walked in and first saw it, I think we stood there with our mouths wide open," added Becky Berning, the chair of the Convention and Visitors Bureau's Marketing and Events Committee. "It was a dream. We had talked about this for four years, and until Mike had agreed to provide that new trailer, we didn't think it would be possible."

Berning said she hopes local businesses will offer to provide ample parking space for the trailer during special Worthington events.

Smith is happy with the way many people have gotten behind the project.

"I'm thankful to the participation by local businesses, and I can't say how much I appreciate the support of the Chamber and their involvement with this project," he said.

Ryan McGaughey

I first joined the Daily Globe in April 2001 as sports editor. I later became the news editor in November 2002, and the managing editor in August 2006. I'm originally from New York State, and am married with two children.

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