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Albion makes pitch to HGTV for ‘Hometown Takeover’

Photo by Elliott Neidert: This photo was taken with a drone in February 2017 and shows the historic downtown business district in Albion.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 6 February 2020 at 3:45 pm

ALBION – Two downtown business owners, Amber Mogle and Courtney Henderson, have led an effort to have Albion be considered for the “Hometown Takeover” by HGTV.

They have submitted a 2-minute, 12-second video showing the downtown and historic sites in Albion, highlighting some of the deterioration and the potential. The video starts with a drone image showing the Courthouse Square. (Click here to see the video.)

“They did a great job highlighting the positives in the village,” said Mayor Eileen Banker.

Photo by Tom Rivers: Courtney Henderson, left, and Amber Mogle pushed to enter Albion in Hometown Takeover, an HGTV series. They both run businesses on East Bank Street.

She is one of three community leaders who make an on-air pitch in the video. Banker said she is proud to have grown up and stayed in Albion.

“We are a home-grown hometown,” Banker said in the video, while standing on an East Bank Street sidewalk. “People grow up and raise their families here.”

Dan Monacelli, a retired Albion school principal, speaks in the Pratt Opera House on the third floor in downtown Albion.

“What we’re looking for is someone to come on back in this town and give us the spark that we need so we continue to grow and stay close,” he said in the video.

Amy Sidari, owner of Gotta Dance by Miss Amy and the Cabaret at Studio B, is shown outside her business on Bank Street.

“Things are alive here in Albion, New York and they can even get better,” she said. “HGTV we need your help, looking for you.”

Henderson and Mogle narrate the video, which shows many scenes from the community’s business district, neighborhoods, the Erie Canal and popular sites, such as the tower at Mount Albion Cemetery.

“Albion is Friday Night Lights, Albion is family dinners, Albion is Sunday morning church. We are a small but mighty town, filled with love, history and diversity.

“Our community comes together in times of joy and celebration. More importantly our town comes together in times of heartache and loss.”

They highlight famous residents – Charles Howard who started a Santa Claus School, George Pullman who lived in Albion before striking it rich with the railroad industry, and Grace Bedell, the girl who wrote a letter to Abraham Lincoln, encouraging him to grow a beard.

“Albion is the home of the Santa Claus School which reminds us every day to believe, to believe in magic, believe in ourselves and believe in our little town and all of its potential,” the video states.

Henderson and Mogle said the downtown business owners are committed to the community, and keeping their historic buildings alive.

“As individuals we are doing our best with revitalization efforts but our historical buildings on Main Street need and deserve more of a facelift than we are capable of doing alone,” they state in the video. “A Hometown Takeover in Albion, New York would improve our community and make lasting impact on the quality of life for our residents.”

Henderson and Mogle a week ago decided to push to enter the contest after seeing people post about it on Facebook. People wanted to see Albion enter, but no one seemed willing to take the lead.

Mogle set up an on-line fundraising page, seeking $1,000 to hire a videographer. That fundraising pitch went live at 9:30 p.m. on Thursday. The next morning it was halfway there. It’s at $1,350 as of 3:30 p.m. today.

Albion graduate Joram Bierdeman was hired to make the video. Henderson wrote the script on Saturday morning. Bierdeman arrived that morning for filming and completed the video by Sunday. It has more than 2,000 views on YouTube.

Henderson and Mogle both said they’re happy to see such positive feedback on social media to the video.

“I feel like it summarizes Albion,” Henderson said today from her women and children’s clothing shop, Milk and Honey. “It was fun to put together and see it come alive.”

Henderson, 31, and Mogle, 30, have become big Albion boosters. Henderson is president of the Albion Merchants Association. They are optimistic about the community.

“I love this place,” said Mogle, who turned a former pizza shop into a hair salon, Roots. “I see the potential. I feel like our town is so beautiful and I don’t think people realize it.”

HGTV is looking for towns with a population less than 40,000, communities with great architecture longing to be revealed, and a Main Street that needs a facelift.

“If they choose us they will be blown away by the beauty of this town,” Mogle said.

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