The town of South Boston is vying with other small towns across America for a chance to win a makeover of epic proportions.
The town has submitted an audition video to HGTV, in the hopes of being selected for Ben and Erin Napier’s upcoming series “Home Town Takeover.” The series is a six-episode special slated to air on HGTV in 2021.
Jeremy Holt, a local realtor and South Boston native, got the ball rolling on the “Home Town Takeover” audition video after one of his friends tagged him in a Facebook post with a link to the HGTV contest.
In the video, South Boston residents, business owners and town officials share what their town means to them.
“I think South Boston is a hidden gem, and something like the Home Town Takeover would really put us on the map,” Holt said. “We really have a lot to offer here.”
Holt believes being selected for the Home Town Takeover would be twofold for South Boston — reaping the benefits of major renovations to the downtown area and gaining national recognition from being spotlighted on the HGTV show.
“We couldn’t pass up a chance to show what a great place Halifax County and South Boston is,” said Brandee Lloyd, director of membership for the Halifax County Chamber of Commerce. “We definitely fit what HGTV is looking for – having a population under 40,000 and having some areas that could use a facelift.”
The video puts the limelight on what downtown South Boston has to offer, from award-winning restaurants, boutiques and coffee shops, a local theater – The Prizery – and the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center.
In the video, town manager Tom Raab discusses a major project downtown, the renovation of the John Randolph hotel.
Plans for the hotel, which was built in 1929-30, include 30 rooms, a restaurant on the ground floor, and a rooftop bar. The town is looking for partners to invest in the renovation project.
“When the hotel opens, it’s really going to revitalize downtown and boost the local businesses,” Holt said.
Lloyd added, “I think this will be a catalyst to really jumpstart revitalizing the downtown even more than we already have. There’s lots of momentum, so we want to capitalize on that.”
Lloyd noted that in the past year, the downtown boutique Southern Frills won the 2019 Virginia Main Street Merit Award for Outstanding Business and the Busy Bean downtown coffee shop was the winner of WSLS 10’s Top 10 Best Places for Coffee contest.
An employee of Edward Jones Investments in downtown South Boston, Nancy Long, talks about all the reasons why she loves her town in the video, from the places to shop, dine and worship here to the character of the people who live here.
“We surround each other with love in a time of need and it’s just a great place to raise your family,” Long said. “We just love our little town here.”
Holt feels the same way about South Boston. He shares in the “Home Town Takeover” audition video that he chose to stay in his hometown while his friends went to major universities and relocated to larger cities. He hopes that after watching the video, HGTV will fall in love with South Boston, too.
“I love the small-town community feel that we have here,” Holt said. “It’s a close-knit community and nobody meets a stranger.”