Beaver Steel Services, a steel products company located in Rosslyn Farms, had an unexpected visitor last week. It was the Romney campaign, asking to use their building for a rally with Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan.
"First, I asked them if this was a joke or something one of our buddies were playing," said Tony Treser, 52, the company's president.
Turns out, it was a serious request, and Mr. Treser, a Romney supporter, was happy to have the business his family founded in 1989 become a small part of a national presidential campaign.
"There's a lot of excitement," he said, since plans became official on Friday. "Everyone's working hard to try and not only do their jobs here, but also try to get ready for this campaign stop tomorrow."
As this year's race for the presidency enters its final months, companies such as Beaver Steel Services -- which until now has never been a stop on any presidential campaign trail -- are unexpectedly finding themselves cast in the role of backdrop for speeches by both Republican and Democratic candidates and their surrogates.
Holding an event in a location such as a family-owned business like Beaver Steel Services places Mr. Ryan in a setting that supports his message, said Gerald Shuster, professor of presidential rhetoric and political communications at Pitt.
"It makes sense that he would go to a place like that," he said.
Since former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney selected him as his running mate earlier this month, Mr. Ryan, a Wisconsin congressman, has been making campaign stops across the country, and on Tuesday he will spend the entire day in Pennsylvania, a state both campaigns are targeting as a key to winning in November.
The Romney campaign has said he would speak at Beaver Steel Services at 11 a.m., likely about the campaign's proposed policies to strengthen the middle class.
Mr. Treser may have been surprised at first by the Romney campaign's request, but he said his 50-person company -- which is diversifying as it continues to recover from the economic downturn in 2009 -- has a good story.
"I think we're a really good example of a typical small business that has worked hard for 23 years and each year, try to get a little better and do a little more," he said.