Each year since 2010, Discovery Inc.’s national network HGTV has chosen a city in which to buy and renovate an urban home—which unfolds before viewers on an HGTV special—to give away in a sweepstakes. Called the Urban Oasis and valued at more than $700,000, this year’s chosen home is in the heart of Minneapolis’ Hiawatha neighborhood.
HGTV is viewers’ No. 4 choice among cable networks, averaging more than 1.6 million overall viewers in 2018, so it’s safe to assume that those renovators/suppliers lucky enough to be featured on Urban Oasis are in for a publicity boom.
Atlanta-based interior designer and TV producer Brian Patrick Flynn hosts the annual Urban Oasis show and leads the renovation efforts. His 121,000-plus Instagram followers make the Urban Oasis audience even bigger.
Flynn and his partners at HGTV selected the local businesses to get their hands dirty on the renovation, including Minneapolis-based Peterssen/Keller Architecture and Reuter Walton Construction, St. Louis Park’s Orijin Stone and Hurley Custom Cabinets, and Bayport’s Andersen Windows & Doors, and in turn have learned from their artisanship and expertise. (The house has a large mudroom for taking off snow boots—a recommendation from Peterssen/Keller and a feature that Flynn, not from a cold climate, didn’t think of.)
In turn, the Urban Oasis presented the businesses with an opportunity for national publicity. While it’s only been a couple months since the show’s TV debut on Oct. 2, the companies are eager to tabulate ROI (most donated their products and services at cost).
Peterssen/Keller director of marketing Melinda Nelson and Orijin Stone principal Nicole Richards say their companies have already seen increased buzz, especially on social media. They’ve also received a few inquiries about products and services, some from as far away as California. But it’s really too soon to tell what the full impact will be.
“The real fruits of these kinds of things aren’t usually evident until years later,” says architect Brent Nelson, Peterssen/Keller’s project manager for Urban Oasis. Down the road, he says, interested parties may come to him and say, “We saw you a while back, and we knew that once we were ready to renovate or build a house, we were going to give you a call.”