A show that is in no need of renovation, Home Town is one of HGTV’s newer shows, which first aired in 2016. The show follows married couple Ben and Erin Napier, as they help create the perfect homes for their fellow residents of Laurel, Mississippi. With the ultimate small-town vibe, the show makes the audience feel like they themselves live in Laurel too.
Another HGTV power couple to add to the mix, Ben and Erin help make the show what it is. With one season down and another to come, there is a lot the audience still hasn’t seen. But before prepping for season two, let’s get to know this couple better and check out some of the untold truths of Home Town.
Ben and Erin met in college
Ben and Erin’s love story started in college. As reported by E! Online, Erin was aware of Ben before he noticed her. She shared, “He was the guy on campus that everyone knew, and I just wanted to be his friend.”
And as for Ben, it was love at first sight. He said, “The first time I met Erin was in the cafeteria at Jones County Community College…. I was talking to a group of girls and they said, ‘Wow, I love that girl’s style.’ I turned around and Erin had this really short pixie cut and she was wearing these loose-fitting jeans and it was like, oh man, she was so cool. From that moment on I was hooked.”
They were both on the yearbook team together, and the rest is history. Ben continued on to say, “It took six days…. I hugged her for the first time on a Tuesday, at the yearbook meeting, and we spent every minute that we could together for the next six days. Then I told her that I loved her and that I was going to marry her one day.” Swoon.
They have their show thanks to social media
The success that is Home Town came about in the perfect 21st century way — via Instagram. According to E! Online, the couple and their home were featured in a magazine, and the photo of their house found its way onto social media. Erin said, “An executive of development at HGTV saw the photo, and we ended up connecting…. She reached out and asked if we’d ever thought about doing TV; she’d been stalking our Instagram for a while and was like, ‘I’m in love with your town, with your relationship and I just wonder if you’d ever thought about a show.’ But we never intended for this to happen.”
And the couple had no idea a TV show could even be a future possibility. As Ben described, “We owned a stationery company at the time, and our minds went to, what if she bought stationery, and how awesome that would be. She’ll send it to all these important people that she knows…. She decided to put us on TV — and thankfully HGTV loved it and here we are.”
Erin had her eye on her dream home since she was a little girl
Erin knew exactly which home she wanted to settle in some day. Since her childhood years, she kept an eye on a house in Laurel that she dreamed of buying when she was older.
As she later posted on Instagram, describing her history with the house, she said, “I loved it when I was child, passing by on trips to town, deeply curious about what it would be like to live in that little yellow cottage, right in the middle of town. I loved it as a teenager when I took photos of it that I deemed creative. I loved it on long walks with Ben in college when we would daydream about our someday life together.”
And that dream one day became a reality. As reported by Country Living, the Napiers moved into Erin’s dream house some time after marrying in 2008, restoring the 1925 house and creating a new home and story for themselves.
They care a lot about small towns
Laurel is not just the backdrop for Home Town, but rather takes center stage in an important way for the show’s hosts.
Ben and Erin have made it clear that they want their show to give a focus to small towns and the charming elements of that lifestyle. As Ben shared with Fox News, “For us, we kind of felt like it was only worth it if it would shine a positive light on our town and on our state.” Erin then joined in, commenting, “And on small town America in general…. We were tired of the stereotypes about small towns and the kind of future and career you can have in a small town. So we wanted to shine any kind of positive life over that kind of lifestyle.”
The Napiers are making sure they do whatever they can to show support. Aside from starring in a show that puts Laurel in the spotlight, the working couple also makes sure to use American factories to produce their own products. As Ben told E! Online during an interview, “We’re focused on revitalizing a small town in America…. And if we’re going to be serious about that, we have to be serious about supporting American factories because that’s what those small towns depend on. We’re having a lot of fun designing these products.”
They don’t feel like celebrities
With a successful business and show, it’s possible that this new fame could go to one’s head, but that is simply not the case for Ben and Erin.
The couple still goes about their day-to-day lives. As Erin discussed with Country Living, “You don’t feel like a star. You feel very regular. When you see your face on TV or you hear your voice, you think, ‘This can’t be a big deal because I’m a part of it.'”
The entire town of Laurel appears to have the same sentiments. Erin continued on to describe her town since the show began airing. She said, “People in Laurel are not impressed.”
Erin shares what she’s grateful for every day
During each episode of Home Town, the audience gets to know Ben and Erin better and better. Aside from watching the show, the audience can also do that by following Erin Napier’s online journal, which can be found on the Laurel Mercantile website.
This is where Erin takes the time to write about what she is grateful for in life. This is already impressive, but even more so applause-worthy is the number of posts Erin shares.
As she describes on the website, “In an effort to count my blessings, this journal has documented only the good things that happen on each and every day of my life since January 1, 2010.” From her and Ben’s work on houses, to the cherished dinners with friends who are like family (she calls them her framily), Erin makes sure to show her gratitude for all of the good things in her life.
They have some famous HGTV mentors
Joining the HGTV family has some major perks. Aside from the major excitement of having a TV show, the stars of the other HGTV shows are there for advice and support.
Ben and Erin have taken some advice from fellow famous home-renovating couple, Chip and Joanna Gaines. Erin told Country Living, “The biggest piece of advice I’ve taken away from them is to keep our marriage and our family first — the stuff that’s been important to us all along — and as long as you do that, you’re going to be fine.”
Their town is compared to Stars Hollow
As Home Town gives attention to Laurel, the town is now getting compared to a well-known, fictitious location: Stars Hollow.
Ben discussed the comparison with People, saying, “A lot of people have said it’s like if Gilmore Girls was a home renovation show, which I’m a big fan of. That sounds really good to me…. When they first said that, I was like that doesn’t make any sense. Stars Hollow is in New England and we’re in the South. But it’s very much the characters in the town. And everybody has those characters in their home town.”
They don’t believe you have to splurge to have a nice home
The various renovations that Ben and Erin take on always look professional… and expensive. Yet, that’s not the case. This couple is very careful with budgets when it comes to renovation.
During an interview with Southern Weddings in 2014 — long before any HGTV success — Erin spoke about her thoughts on money dedicated towards decorating. She said, “We like shopping flea markets and architectural salvage, or Ben builds things himself. I’m not impressed by money or expensive things.”
The couple finds steals and deals when possible, but they also know when it’s time to invest more in a project. She continued on, “If we do splurge, it’s because we just couldn’t live without it or couldn’t find a less pricey comparable option.”
What’s next for Ben and Erin?
On the work-front, Ben and Erin are focused on supporting American businesses through their work. Ben told Country Living, “Right now we’re really emphasizing building relationships with American companies and growing our manufacturing side, doing a lot of our manufacturing here in Laurel…. If we could create a lot of jobs in the store, think about how many more we could create if we started making our own products here in town.”
And in their personal lives, there are big discussions as well. During the same interview, Erin shared, “There’s always talk about babies… and there’s always talk about where we’re going to travel next.”