SIDNEY — How exciting would it be if HGTV’s new “Home Town Takeover” television series choose Sidney as the town they pick for their new show to breath new life into?
The upcoming series, set to air in 2021, is a spin-off of HGTV’s original TV series “Home Town” starring husband and wife Ben and Erin Napier who restores old or historic homes in their home town of Laurel, Mississippi. In “Home Town Takeover,” the Napiers aim to rejuvenate a whole-town with their newest renovation and restoration project.
Upon hearing about the call for small town submissions, Sidney Alive brought in marketing expert Ali Rittenhouse, social media agency owner/videographer, to help create Sidney’s submission.
“Our community is ready for change,” Amy Breinich, executive director of Sidney Alive said by email. “HGTV’s ‘Home Town Takeover’ would be perfect for the work that has already begun and streamline some of the other arenas we struggle with. Ben and Erin’s personalities, talent and passion they have for their hometown of Laurel, Mississippi would translate really well here. And I think our community would welcome them with excitement and a willingness to get to work!”
HGTV is seeking a small town with a population of 40,000 or less. Applicants are asked to highlight aspects of their town that make it “special, fascinating, historic or unique — including distinctive features like vintage period architecture, special destinations or a classic main street.“
Breinich and Rittenhouse created and compiled a five and half minute video, an essay, and five pictures highlighting Sidney’s charm and character, while also displaying it’s potential and areas in need of rejuvenation for their submission. Their official entry was submitted on Feb. 6.
Citizens of the selected town, HGTV’s website says, can expect to witness the rehab of multiple individual family homes as well as the revitalization of public spaces — parks, local diners or restaurants and outdoor recreation areas.
“Sidney has a great mix of potential investments for the future and restoration already happening to compliment those efforts,” Rittenhouse said by email. “The historic residential areas surrounding our downtown have so many hidden gems. And how many other towns have a castle as beautiful as ours, just waiting for someone to restore her beauty. I know once Ben and Erin get here, they will also see how wonderful and kind our residence are. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and dive in.”
Rittenhouse admitted it wasn’t easy for she and Breinich to determine who to include in the video, especially with the deadline quickly approaching.
“There were several individuals that indicated they wanted to be involved, and we started there with those being on camera,” she said. “We had plans to go around and include more of the downtown businesses but time just didn’t allow for it with already packed scheduled and Ohio weather.”
Jenny VanMatre, Sidney City Council at-large member, Dawn Eilert, Sidney-Shelby County Chamber vice president, Joni Dunham, Sidney City Schools art teacher, Oshae Peart, Shelby County CASA licensed school councilor, and Tiffany Wilderuth-Rank, Sidney City Schools communication director, all appear in the video, along with Breinich, to share their passion about Sidney.
Downtown Sidney, including the Shelby County Courthouse, The Historic Sidney Theatre, The Spot Restaurant, Amos Memorial Library, and historic homes with “good old bones,” along with the Big Four Bridge and aerial views of the city and its neighborhoods are displayed in the video.
The video took Rittenhouse and Breinich one day of planning and scouting out the locations, three and a half days of shooting and approximately 30-plus hours of video editing. It took them three hours to complete the essay, Rittenhouse said.
Then on Feb. 7, approximately 60-65 people packed into a room at Murphy’s Craft Bar & Kitchen in downtown Sidney for a video watch-party of Sidney’s official video entry submission. Rittenhouse said people were lining walls with more crowed deep in the back.
“There was a huge cheer and roar when the video completed,” Rittenhouse said. “The same cheers could be heard when Amy mentioned the tie to Airstream and what #bringjolenehome meant. There was such a buzz of positive energy surrounding the video after it was done playing, we hoped it would hit the same heartstrings of potential when it went live on social media. And it did!”
So far the video has been viewed over 40,000 times and shared more than 1,400-plus times, Rittenhouse said.
“The support and love has been overwhelming. We are filled with such joy to see the community rallying together. I hope this helps encourage people to see that we have so much here already and more to come. Sidney is a great place to live, work, and play,” said Rittenhouse.
“I echo all that Ali Rittenhouse said,” Breinich said. “There is so much that goes into revitalization. These are real people, with real families, real risks and real passion giving it their all to do something meaningful for their community. Shopping at a downtown store, eating at a downtown restaurant or using any one of the vast professional services offered downtown supports our friends and neighbors. Patronizing locally-owned businesses increase our economic health significantly. We are better together!
“In the end, what Ali’s video has done, is light a fire in a lot of us to roll-up our sleeves and do what we can individually to grow and help our community along. Her passion and inspiration is something we at Sidney Alive are grateful for. We hope HGTV, Ben and Erin feel the same way!” said Breinich.
Sidney’s official entry submission video can be viewed on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=50pwVV5ulGM
Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.