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Making an impact: Pair make video for HGTV’s Home Town Takeover contest

Some citizens of Ironton are looking for a takeover.

Videographers Brad Bear and Jeff Ford spent last week interviewing several business people to make a video to submit to HGTV as part of Home Town Takeover contest.

While HGTV is well-known for its house makeovers, the Home Town Takeover project is much bigger. The lifestyle channel will have Home Towns hosts Ben and Erin Napier come to a town and help revitalize the downtown area.

Bear, with Bear Media Services in Ironton, saw an announcement on Facebook about it and decided to grab a friend to create a video to highlight Ironton and its energy.

“The crux of the show is they want to do some impactful changes in a small town and make it better than they found it,” he said. So, he called Ford with Millimeter Creative, who was originally from Ironton and now lives in Cincinnati, to team up and put a pitch video together.

Ford said every time he comes back to Ironton, he notices a change in the energy of the town and see the changes in the downtown. He said he was instantly on board with the project when Bear called.

“This is something that Brad and I can do to pay something back to Ironton and take a stab at winning this,” Ford said. “And if we do win, I think it would be a big shot in the arm for the whole community. I think it would be great to be spotlighted for something good.”

For their contest, HGTV is looking for a town with a population of less than 40,000 that has great architecture and a Main Street that needs a facelift. Bear and Ford feel that Ironton is the perfect place for this with things like a many long-time businesses and the Ro-Na Theater, which has become a center for community events. So, they interviewed a number of business owners.

“We are looking to showcase what they want on the show, or what we believe they want on the show,” Bear said. “They want examples of revitalization happening in the town, which it has. They want some big projects they can get over the finish line.”

Bear said rather than talk to economic development people and politicians, they decided to focus on people on the grassroots level who are making things happen. So, they talked to Rich Donohue, who is expanding his business, Central Hardware, Joe Unger at Unger’s Shoes, Rick Jansen with Friends of Ironton and their effort on redoing the Ro-Na Theater into a community space and Amanda Cleary and Abby Kuehne, co-owners of the The Vault Market.

“We look at the energy that they are all bringing to downtown Ironton,” Bear said. “We are trying to tell the story that Ironton is reviving and HGTV could come in and really help us.”

On Friday, they interviewed Viviane Khounlavong at her Studio Dara about why she has a yoga studio in Ironton and the energy of the city.

She had a good reason for agreeing to be in the video submission.

“I love Ironton,” she said. “It’s pretty simple. I just believe our community deserves to be displayed positively for the energy that is being harvested here.”

Ford said, even if at the end of the day Ironton doesn’t win the opportunity from HGTV, the process of making this video is still a win.

“Because it is a chance to recognize the people who have been doing great things,” he said. “And it could inspire people who haven’t done great things, or haven’t gotten involved, to do their part as well.”