The HGTV series “Home Town Takeover,” hosted by Ben and Erin Napier, debuted in May 2021. On the show, the Napiers traveled to Elmore County, Alabama, intending to improve the small town, Wetumpka, and its local economy. According to HGTV, the network “selected Wetumpka because, despite hardships, natural disasters and unexpected setbacks, the community’s undying spirit and resilience showed that they were ready to kickstart a comeback with HGTV’s help.”
During a Recent Interview, Ben Napier Commented on “Mom-and-Pop Shops”
Architectural Design reported that the “Home Town” stars decided the best way to improve Wetumpka would be to remodel “12 homes and businesses” in just four months. The publication noted that there could be skeptics who may be doubtful that a few months’ worth of work will actually strengthen the town’s local economy, especially since consumers typically have a preference for online retailers. While speaking to Architectural Design, Ben asserted that “mom-and-pop shops,” like the ones in Wetumpka, are here to stay.
“A lot of people right now talk about Amazon and the internet taking business from mom-and-pop shops, but before that it was big-box stores, and before that it was shopping malls, and before that it was catalogues. Going back forever, there was always something that was going to put the mom-and-pop business out, but we are still here and we still bring something to the table,” explained the 37-year-old.
There Has Been an Uptick in Tourism Since “Home Town Takeover” Premiered
While it is too early to tell if the series has helped with the longevity of Wetumpka’s small businesses, Pop Culture reported there has been “an increase in interest in” the town since the premiere of the “Home Town” spin-off. During a June interview with WSFA, Marilee Tankersley, who lives in Wetumpka, revealed that there “has been a much larger increase in crowds.” She went on to say that locals have “loved having all the people that want to see what is going on here.”
In an April interview with the Alabama Newscenter, the town’s Mayor Jerry Willis revealed that he expected the show to have a positive effect on the community.
“I am thrilled at the excitement the show has brought to this community already,” stated Willis. “The momentum has brought so much interest to Wetumpka. I can’t wait to see what happens after the premiere. I hope they will see our unique qualities and what a tight-knit community we are.”