Everything You Need To Know About Mallorie Rasberry From Home Town

Fans of the HGTV hit "Home Town" have come to fall in love with the show's stars, spouses Erin and Ben Napier, and their feel-good efforts to revitalize their small town of Laurel, Mississippi — one home renovation at a time. So popular has the show become, in fact, that it's spawned a few spinoffs, including "Home Town Kick Start," "Home Town Takeover," and the Christmas-themed "Home Town: Ben's Holiday Workshop." 

As fans of the shows are well aware, the Napiers aren't alone in their home-renovation exploits. In fact, they often rely on the assistance of Erin's BFF, Mallorie Rasberry, a DIY enthusiast with a keen eye for design and a knack for creative problem solving. Rasberry, in fact, has kind of become the Napiers' secret weapon — such as the time when she used her stencilling skills to help beautify a kitchen bar, using nothing but a piece of paper, a brush and a $10 can of paint to create a dramatic kitchen transformation on a minuscule budget.

While faithful viewers of "Home Town" and its spinoffs have come to know this capable and creative wife and mother of two, there's a lot more about her that the average viewer wouldn't glean from merely watching the show. With that in mind, read on to discover everything you need to know about Mallorie Rasberry from "Home Town."

She's co-owner of an online retail outlet — and a financial services firm

One thing about Mallorie Rasberry that viewers of "Home Town" may not realize is that she's an entrepreneur. As a profile in Closer Weekly pointed out, she's the co-owner of Laurel Mercantile, a storefront shop in downtown Laurel that also functions as an online retailer. The other co-owners of Laurel Mercantile are her husband, Jim Rasberry, "Home Town" stars Ben and Erin Napier, and Josh and Emily Nowell. "We've been running an online store for several years now so as the announcement of Season One of HGTV's 'Home Town' became a reality, we decided that it was the perfect time to open the brick and mortar right here in downtown Laurel," Rasberry told Gulf Coast Woman of how the operation expanded from online to downtown Laurel.

As Mississippi Free Press reported, Laurel Mercantile sprang from a local development group that the Napiers, the Rasberrys and others formed, Laurel Main Street, encouraging citizens to pull together to rejuvenate the town's downtown core. 

That's not her only business venture, either. "Well, we have two businesses in the First National Bank Building," Rasberry told Lott Furniture. One of these is Rasberry Producer Group, for which she performs an assortment of duties. "I do things anywhere from payroll, to training our agents, to paying bills," she explained. In addition, she and her husband own Rasberry Financial. "Jim handles the day-to-day stuff," she explained. "I usually handle the books and behind-the-scenes operations."

Malorie Rasberry has taken a leading role in revitalizing Laurel

"Home Town" focuses on the revitalization of Laurel, Mississippi, and Mallorie Rasberry has been at the forefront of those efforts from the beginning, starting in about 2008. "There was a core group of people that had invested in Laurel's comeback, and we were all buying old buildings, renovating them, all while telling Laurel's story to literally anyone that would listen," Rasberry explained in an interview with Gulf Coast Woman. "Being a part of the progress and change is a no-brainer for a successful business-person wanting to take the next step."

That group eventually came to be known as Laurel Main Street, and Rasberry has been active on the board of directors since the start, dating back to about 2008. "I'm the outgoing president of Laurel Main Street, but I stayed on the board as treasurer," Rasberry told Lott Furniture. "I've stepped back from the committees and taken a break there while staying involved."

Meanwhile, Rasberry also retains an active presence at the Laurel Welcome Center. In fact, she tries to put in some time every other day, answering visitors' questions and generally serving as an ambassador to her town. "So, I find myself welcoming a lot of people to Laurel," she explained.

She's a serious fan of antiques

Not only is Mallorie Rasberry good friends with Erin Napier, she also shares the "Home Town" star's design sensibilities and esthetic style. A big part of that stems from their mutual love of antiques. "I've always loved antique shopping and collecting sentimental things," she explained in an interview for her Laurel Mercantile shop, in which she took readers on a guided tour of her Laurel home. The antique objects that hold the most appeal to her, she revealed, are ginger jars, and she's kind of obsessed. "So you'll see those everywhere in my house — on the shelves, on tables, in the kitchen," she added.

When searching for antiques, whether it's to beautify the ever-evolving decor of her own home or to present to Erin Napier for a "Home Town" reno, Rasberry is no dilettante. "I love to dig," she said in an interview with Laurel's Lott Furniture Co. "Whether it's a new store or an antique store, more than anything I love to find a bargain."

Rasberry is also a firm believer in repurposing antique items she finds — such as her home's TV console, which was originally used as a worktable by the former owner of their previous home. "We found it in his old workshop where he used to repair watches," Rasberry recalled. "He actually had a drive-thru window in his shop where people would drive down the alley and drop off their watches for him to fix."

Her design style combines functionality and comfort

There's nothing fussy about the interior design within Mallorie Rasberry's home, which is reflected in the renovations she undertakes with Ben and Erin Napier on "Home Town." "My style revolves around functionality and comfort," Rasberry explained in an interview with Laurel Mercantile. Nowhere is that philosophy more prevalent than in the way she styles the spacious porch of her Laurel home. "I wanted the porch to be a space that's informal and comfortable, but dynamic for entertaining large groups," she said. "We have a big family and framily, and we love that our house has become a soft landing place and ground zero for functions."

That emphasis on comfort, Rasberry added, not only echos her ideas on home decor, but is also reflective of the Southern-style hospitality that she's embraced since moving to Laurel. "My biggest hope is that people feel welcome and comfortable when they walk through our doors," she shared. "That's what hospitality and home mean to me. To leave feeling better than when you came."

That hospitality isn't exclusive to Rasberry's family, friends and neighbors, but is also extended to visitors to Laurel who stay in the Laurel Cottages. These charming Airbnb rentals, noted the Downtown Laurel website, are owned by Rasberry, and were also decorated by her.

The portraits in her home are of people she doesn't know

Visitors welcomed into Mallorie Rasberry's Laurel home, which she shares with husband Jim Rasberry and their two daughters, will notice an array of vintage portraits hanging on the walls. And while one could be excused for assuming those portraits are of relatives, friends or forbears, the truth is a lot more interesting. "I've always been drawn to old oil portraits ... when I find a good one, I scoop it up! I've got a pretty good collection coming together," Rasberry revealed in an interview posted on the Laurel Mercantile website

According to Rasberry, her husband is perhaps not as big a fan of those retro oil paintings, but indulges her anyway. "Jim's been a great sport about it. God love him," she added. "He puts up with my obscurities and rolls right with it."

One portrait in particular actually evokes sweet memories for Rasberry — even though the painting's subject is someone that she'd never met. That, she explained, is because the woman in the painting reminds Rasberry of her beloved grandmother; with the painting flanked horizontally by her grandmother's blue-and-white plates, the visual tableau she created makes her think of her grandmother whenever she casts her eyes upon it.

Her century-old home has a working elevator

Painted portraits of people she doesn't know aren't the only unique and somewhat eccentric features in Mallorie Rasberry's Laurel home. Arguably the most interesting is the vintage elevator, which was installed by the home's original owners, the Gilchrist family, and has remained functional all those years later. "Naturally, I dressed it up with some paint, a rug and this thrifted dog print," Rasberry told Laurel Mercantile of how she wound up putting her own unique fingerprint on the elevator.

Another distinctive space in the Rasberry home is the so-called "bourbon room," which not only houses Jim's impressive collection of whiskies, but also serves as the space in which the parents and their friends can spend some grownup time. "This is our go-to room for hanging out with company. A lot of late nights ..." Rasberry noted, also pointing out that this is the room in which the couple watch "CBS Sunday Morning" each and every Sunday morning. 

One episode of "CBS Sunday Morning" that the couple certainly watched aired in 2021, featuring their "Home Town" co-stars Ben and Erin Napier discussing the show's popularity with HGTV viewers — on the front porch of the Rasberry home, no less. "Watching Erin and Ben talking to [interviewer] Martha Teichner was amazing," Jim told Laurel Mercantile. "I was just taking it all in, and I felt so much pride, because I know where Laurel has come from and how hard people have worked to get here."

She went viral for cooking jambalaya on Home Town

While there's no questioning the impact that Mallorie Rasberry has had on "Home Town," there's one moment on the show that stands out against all others when it comes to the impact that she had on viewers. That, noted Closer, was in a Season 5 episode in which she was seen making a batch of jambalaya. 

Viewers took notice; as Reality Titbit pointed out, fans who saw the episode rushed to social media, clamoring for the recipe. Rasberry eventually shared the recipe in Laurel Mercantile's cookbook, "Family Recipes & Stories (Vol. 1)."

Rasberry also had a confession to make about her popular jambalaya recipe. "But the truth is, it's not my recipe at all. I stole it from my Aunt Betty," she wrote in a blog post for Laurel Mercantile. According to Rasberry, her aunt — who had recently passed away — taught her the recipe when she was attending college. "I miss her fiercely, but I'm so thankful for my little Jambalaya Time Machine; her legacy lives on with every pan we make," she added.

She met her husband through best friend Erin Napier

"Home Town" star Erin Napier is a native of Laurel, returning to her hometown and settling down with husband Ben after they graduated from college. Mallorie Rasberry wasn't born and raised in Laurel — she hails from Tylertown, Mississippi, she told Gulf Coast Woman — but came there with husband Jim Rasberry, a Laurel native. 

In fact, Rasberry wouldn't be in Laurel at all had it not been for Napier, who was her college roommate when both attended Ole Miss in Oxford, Mississippi. As it happened, Napier's senior art project was an exhibit focusing on Laurel's First National Bank Building, which included creating the visual ads and marketing materials for a new business that was opening in the building that would eventually house their joint venture, Laurel Mercantile. As fate would have it, that was where she first encountered her roommate's cousin, Jim Rasberry, who made a trip to Oxford to check out the exhibit. 

"I met him at the exhibit and within two years, I had made Laurel my new hometown!" Rasberry gushed. Given the Napiers' passion for revitalizing Laurel, it was a no-brainer that Rasberry and her husband would also become involved. "So it's just one of those things that by marrying Jim, being best friends with Erin and Ben and moving to Laurel, I knew the family and downtown Laurel were a package deal," she explained.

She's highly involved in her community

As viewers of "Home Town" have come to recognize, it's far from a garden-variety HGTV home-renovation show. While the personalities of Erin and Ben Napier are clearly a big attraction for viewers, at the core of the show is the titular home town of Laurel, Mississippi. Ever since she and her husband settled down there, Mallorie Rasberry has been an active force within her community, devoting her time, energy and boundless creativity to making her adopted home town a better place for everyone. 

Not only did becoming active in her community help the revitalization efforts, it also gave Rasberry herself a renewed sense of purpose. Prior to taking a job at Rasberry Producer Group, Rasberry — who is a CPA — was commuting from her job in Hattiesberg, about 30 minutes outside of Laurel. "It wasn't until I started working here and joined the board for Laurel Main Street that I truly felt vested," she said in a Raspberry Producer Group publication

Rasberry learned a thing or two over the years from her involvement in the town's revitalization, and shared her knowledge at a 2019 event dubbed Downtown Comeback. As reported by the University of Central Arkansas' UCANews.live, Rasberry and husband Jim were among the speakers at the event, held at the university's McCastlain Hall, explaining how others can follow the lead they took in Laurel to rejuvenate their own home towns. 

She refused a lucrative deal for foreign-made furniture to protect American workers

After "Home Town" proved to be a hit, HGTV success began trickling down into Laurel itself. That was particularly true with Laurel Mercantile Co., the retail outlet co-owned Ben and Erin Napier, along with fellow Laurel locals Josh and Emily Nowell, and Jim and Mallorie Rasberry. In fact, it was shortly after the series' premiere that Laurel Mercantile was offered a deal by a furniture manufacturing company situated in China. "We were approached by them to do a licensing deal, and it was more money than any of us could ever imagine," Mallorie told American Manufacturing, "but ... we didn't want to sell out, so we put our money where our mouth was, and we said, 'No.'" 

Instead, Ben Napier reached out to American furniture manufacturer Vaughan-Bassett Furniture Co., which had refused an opportunity to relocate its factory from Galax, Virginia to China. The two companies entered into a partnership, one that Rasberry recognized could be beneficial to both Laurel and Galax.

"We saw the 600 people that they employed and saw the town of Galax, and it really brought it all home that this is so much bigger than us," said Rasberry. "Their grandparents worked here ... This is their livelihood ... If we're going to be serious about revitalizing small town America, we have to be serious about supporting American jobs and American manufacturers that support that town."