He’s the man surrounded by crowds of children and brightly colored balloons at local parties and festivals. He’s the man behind the camera at WEEK-TV. He’s even been the man inside the Peoria Chiefs’ Rally Redbird, McGruff the Crime Dog and Wildlife Prairie Park’s Bill the Bear costumes. Yes, Doug Smith plays many different roles in central Illinois. While he’s probably best known as the region’s premiere balloon artist and founder of The Unique Twist, Smith’s love for scuba diving prompted him to become co-owner and investor in Deep Blue Adventure, a scuba shop here in Peoria. Here are some other things you may not know about Doug:
- Favorite aspect of central Illinois…Being a former Southerner from Alabama, I was used to friendliness and good folks, but the Midwesterners in central Illinois are the greatest. They’re the people who have been so supportive and made my business such a success. I could not have done it without them.
- Three things I’d want on a deserted island…An iPod with Jimmy Buffett tunes, ice-cold Polar beer, and Rita’s grilled pork chop sandwiches from Haddad’s.
- Three words that best describe me are…Funny, reliable and caring.
- What’s your favorite retreat? Being on a live-aboard dive boat in the islands.
- When and where are you happiest? Under the water on some new adventure with my girlfriend and other good friends, exploring the undersea’s wonderment and gifts of nature.
- If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? My speed setting from Go Go Go all the time to a medium setting between sloth and speed.
- What was your first job? Paperboy—it taught me the value of customer interaction and of doing things right every day, every time.
- What’s some of the best advice you’ve been given? From my dad: “Give an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay.”
- What do you do when you want to relax? Read, hang out with friends or scuba dive.
- What is something that always brings a smile to your face? My girlfriend, friends, family and the joy of kids getting their first balloon creations! a&s