Are you suddenly attracted to quaint small towns? If so, you're not alone — and you might have Ben and Erin Napier to blame. The couple stars in HGTV's newest hit show Home Town, and they've brought the charms of small town living back to the forefront. In the show, the Napiers work to restore their own home town's waning grandeur by renovating one house at a time, boosting local morale as they go. In a recent interview with POPSUGAR, Ben explained, "We see people falling in love with the enduring craftsmanship, with the old, unloved homes because they've been neglected for many years. And now we see how taking one home and renovating it makes a huge difference for a small town that might be struggling."
Many have wondered where the show is filmed, and the answer is Laurel, Mississippi, a turn-of-the-century timber industry hub located in southern part of the state about two hours from the Gulf. Small but mighty with a population around 20,000, the historic town was the birthplace of several major celebrities, including Lass Bance of *NSYNC and actress Parker Posey. Today, however, it's Laurel's rebirth that is in the spotlight.
The Napiers told us their mission is to promote the resurgence of Laurel and small towns all over the country. When we asked them why small towns were having a moment, they tied it to the larger trend of vintage goods, farmhouse style, makers movements, and small-batch everything becoming popular with younger generations. Erin surmised that the sudden resonance all things old and hand-made has to do with the trend of people moving back home combined with nostalgia for a foregone time.
"As millennials, we kind of feel like we missed out on something really authentic in our lives because we have the internet and we have our phones, and it doesn't feel real. There's not a connection in an authentic way like our grandparents and parents had it. And I think we all are just nostalgic for something that maybe we've never even experienced." Ben Adds, "There's something you get in a small town . . . You get that community aspect. You get that idea of a neighbor you can borrow sugar from. I think that's something that's special to a small town." That authentic connection comes through in every episode of Home Town.