“When there is no show and no one cares who we are anymore, all we have left is us as a family,” says Erin, who is mom to two-year-old daughter Helen, in the latest issue of PEOPLE. “So staying healthy and happy is our numer one priority. Everything else has to come behind that.”
The pair’s series showcases them as they pursue their passion: returning Laurel, a southern Mississippi town of about 18,000, to its former glory. “After Hurricane Katrina, Laurel really hit its low point,” Erin, 34, explains. “Many people left, and our city wasn’t in a great place. Our goal was to help restore the town.”
In addition to finding and renovating homes for families, the Napiers also teamed up with four of their best friends and opened their first retail store, Laurel Mercantile Co., in 2016. Two years later they opened their popular General Store, which houses the Scotsman Co. Woodshop.
Still, their success seems surreal.
“We don’t own any kind of construction company or anything like that,” says Erin. “I just have an art degree, and I consider myself to be a decorator. Ben is a woodworker. We’re just having fun with these houses.”
While Home Town is now one of HGTV’s highest rated series, the couple is committed to staying true to who they are.
“If you never think of yourself as famous, nothing changes,” says Erin. “Making the show is a really fun job and we’re lucky. We’ve been amazed by all of it.”
For more from Ben and Erin Napier, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.