MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — President Donald Trump will be in the Twin Cities Thursday night, along with thousands of supporters and protesters.

The president is holding a campaign rally at Target Center in downtown Minneapolis. The event doesn’t start until 7 p.m., but Vice President Mike Pence will arrive earlier in the afternoon. He and his wife first plan to visit a small, family sign company in Lakeville.

Safety Signs opened in 1993 with just one employee. It was founded by a couple that met at Lakeville High School and still own the family business. The company now employs up to 130 people, manufacturing thousands of highway and road signs every year.

“This is such a huge honor. I don’t mean to get emotional, but this is a really cool thing for us,” Jay Blanchard of Safety Signs said.

Jay and Sue Blanchard got the call Friday asking if the vice president could visit.

“We said, ‘Of course!’ We were very excited,” Sue Blanchard said.

Vice President Mike Pence in St. Paul on May 9, 2019 (credit: CBS)

They say under President Trump, their business is growing.

“When the economy is strong, the construction industry is strong, and right now the construction industry is booming,” Jay said.

They did find themselves wondering why they were chosen.

“They basically said, ‘You guys are the American Dream, you are doing it right, you are active in your community, your people are skilled at what they do,’” Jay said.

After touring Safety Signs, the vice president will go to the president’s rally at Target Center, part of an early full-court press by the Trump-Pence campaign to win Minnesota.

“This president can cross the finish line in Minnesota. That is why we are putting a ton of effort in,” said Kayleigh McEnany, the national press secretary for the Trump-Pence campaign. “We see movement, we see the ability of President Trump to win over new voters. and that is why we are bringing everyone out.”

The vice president’s visit is also aimed at shoring up support in Minnesota’s Second Congressional District, which the Trump-Pence ticket narrowly won in 2016, and sent a Democrat, Angie Craig, to Congress in 2018.

Esme Murphy

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