After being selected as one of the fine American towns to undergo a major facelift for HGTV's newest six-part series Home Town Takeover, lead renovators and beloved network stars, Ben Napier and Erin Napier had no idea they would be filming in the midst of a global pandemic. Initially pitched in 2019 to the Mississippi couple, the pair tell PopCulture.com exclusively they had their fair share of challenges in filming over the course of four months last fall, but their ultimate goal of making a difference came to natural fruition.
While the pair both initially believed the show was coming in during some "terrible timing," Ben at one point wasn't even sure the series would take off because of all the precautions in safety amid social distancing practices and lockdowns. However, Erin admits it was all made possible thanks to the hard work from their crew on the set for the four-month shoot. "Ultimately, it feels like we have all this experience that we've gained in the last 10 years of doing this in Laurel, that if we're not sharing what we know, then how much of a difference are we really making?" she said in our series, PopCulture @Home.
Echoing her sentiments, Ben adds how the pair's goal has consistently been to "make a huge difference" not just in their hometown, but inspire others to see the potential in their own. "So many people want to do what has happened in Laurel in their town, and they're coming to us and asking us for advice and so we felt like this would be a good way to kind of say this can happen anywhere. It doesn't have to be Laurel," he said. Erin adds how there are "universal truths in revitalizing small-town America," and the couple has always just wanted to share it.
But while some transformations of towns and cities have prompted controversy, the Napiers see it more as a deepened value in enhancing and restoring the character of a community that has felt left out to live a "beautiful life." Working to achieve a result that many can proudly take ownership of and call their own, Erin hopes it makes "people who are struggling to make ends meet in a big city think twice about [how] maybe there is [an] opportunity" outside of the one thing they've ever known.
"Some people are born and raised in big cities and they struggle to pay their bills and to be satisfied in their career because it's such a rat race and I just want people to see that there are other ways of living," Erin said as Ben adds how meeting people in cities they love like Chicago or New York has been an eye-opening experience with regards to the cost of living for many around the U.S. who are living "paycheck to paycheck," which begs the concern of how much living does one get to do in such circumstances. Reiterating how it's their goal to help others, Erin adds that the couple just wants to "change perceptions about what it means to live in a small town and what's possible."
Ben and Erin Napier can be seen in the six-episode event series, Home Town Takeover, premiering May 2 at 8 p.m. ET on HGTV, and available to stream on discovery+ beginning May 2. For more with the Napiers, stick to PopCulture for the latest.