VAIL, CO: Vail knows a good PR opportunity when it sees one.
The city is expanding a PR assignment with CTA Public Relations to include publicizing its new line of manhole-cover jewelry.
About 18 months ago, Vail hired the agency to promote its decision to start selling Vail sewer covers to the public.
Tourists apparently liked to steal the covers so they could have a piece of posh Vail when they leave, according to CTA founder Carl Thompson.
Thompson had convinced the city that selling the sewer covers would generate income and get it favorable PR. Thompson was right. The city has made $80,000 on the sales.
Now it plans to expand into a line of Vail manhole cover jewelry and has hired CTA to handle PR for this new line of products as well.
Thompson plans to pitch the new jewelry to fashion and lifestyle writers as well as skiing publications. He'll focus on cities such as Dallas, Atlanta, Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles - places that traditionally send a lot of visitors to Vail each year.
Vail gets more than 2 million visitors a year.
The jewelry will resemble the covers used by the city but will not be made from old sewer covers.
The new line will include a manhole cover pendant necklace selling for $60 and cufflinks going for $80.
Vail has sold 600 of the actual sewer covers so far. The full-size, 52-pound ones go for $295 a pop, the smaller, six-pound ones for $65. The city has just introduced a deluxe version, which sells for $525.
Thompson said the buyers use them in a variety of ways, such as in their gardens and driveways and as boat anchors.