Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.

Summary

Curious for a more intimate look into the lives of Fixer to Fabulous stars, Dave and Jenny Marrs? Eager to find out what sparked their journey into television and what projects they have on the horizon?

This week on The Bentonville Beacon, host James Bell explores the captivating world of Dave and Jenny Marrs, the dynamic duo behind HGTV’s beloved series, Fixer to Fabulous. Known for their skillful renovations, the Marrs beautifully marry contemporary design with the historical essence of homes in the Greater Bentonville Area, bringing those homes to life while ensuring they reflect the unique personalities of those who inhabit them. It is not just about achieving perfection but creating spaces where life’s best moments can unfold.

Beyond their television fame, Dave and Jenny are profound community builders, spearheading ventures like Marrs Developing, Marrs Mercantile, and The Welcome Inn—each a testament to their commitment to fostering communal spaces that encourage connection and joy. Their agricultural initiatives at The Berry Farm highlight their dedication to sustainable living, with proceeds aiding agricultural training programs for orphaned children in Zimbabwe.

In this heartfelt episode, they share the milestones of their renovation careers and television journey, discuss their new projects, and reveal the profound impact of the Bentonville community on their work and lives. Additionally, Jenny gives us a glimpse into her recently published design book, House + Love = Home, offering personal anecdotes alongside practical home design tips and DIY projects, while Dave provides a sneak peek at what is coming next.

Tune in to uncover the layers of creativity, community spirit, and genuine passion that make Dave and Jenny Marrs a truly inspirational pair in the world of home design and beyond. Don’t miss this blend of personal stories with professional insights—only on The Bentonville Beacon.

Tune in to this enriching episode today, and see for yourself why Dave and Jenny Marrs continue to captivate and inspire audiences both locally and globally.

Show Notes

Timestamps in this blog are for the audio-only version of the podcast; video timing differs.

(0:52) Introduction to Dave and Jenny Marrs

(6:11) About Dave and Jenny’s Other Ventures

(8:18) The Fixer to Fabulous Backstory

(13:49) Dave and Jenny’s Most Challenging Project

(18:08) Balancing Modern Trends with Historical Integrity

(20:28) Dave and Jenny’s Commitment to the Region

(24:42) Business Support from Local Government Organizations

(27:27) Dave and Jenny’s #BecauseBentonville Story

(30:32) How Bentonville Helps Dave and Jenny Live, Work and Play

(35:11) Upcoming Projects and Initiatives

(38:48) How to Make Your Home Fixer to Fabulous Famous

(43:30) Lessons Learned from Home Renovation and Television

(46:53) Closing Question

Links

Dave Marrs and Jenny Marrs (Instagram)

Jenny Marrs (Instagram)

Dave Marrs (Instagram)

Dave and Jenny Marrs

HGTV’s Fixer to Fabulous

Marrs Developing

The Berry Farm

Blueberry Fest

Marrs Mercantile

The Welcome Inn

Fixer to Fabulous: Welcome Inn (HGTV)

The Story Behind Dave and Jenny Marr’s Italian Villa Renovation (HGTV)

Feed Their Tummies

Fixer to Fabulous Fans Are Shocked After Jenny and Dave Marrs Posted Deleted Scene to Instagram (Country Living)

HGTV’s Dave & Jenny Marrs’ Hidden Wine Cellar Is A Fan Favorite Reveal For Good Reason (House Digest)

HGTV’s Hometown Takeover

House + Love = Home: Creating Warm, Intentional Spaces for a Beautiful Life by Jenny Marrs

James Bell, MBA

Bentonville Economic Development

Greater Bentonville Area Chamber of Commerce

Get Connected!

Thank you for tuning into this episode of The Bentonville Beacon, brought to you by the Greater Bentonville Area Chamber of Commerce! Join us weekly for more stories and advice from the entrepreneurs, business executives and community leaders who are sparking the rise of the Greater Bentonville Area. If you are interested in starting a business, expanding your current business, or discussing whether your business should have a presence in Greater Bentonville, or would like to discuss this podcast, please contact James Bell at jbell@greaterbentonville.com or (479) 273-2841.

Links for Additional Mentions

Help One Now

Starbucks, Bentonville/Centerton

Bentonville

Centerton

Bella Vista

Rogers

Pea Ridge

Bella Vista – Mountain Bike Trails

Northwest Arkansas

Walmart

Downtown Bentonville Incorporated

Visit Bentonville

Mayor Stephanie Orman

Mayor Bill Edwards

City of Bentonville

City of Centerton

City of Rogers

JD Byrum

City Sessions

Bentonville Cost of Living Calculator

Bentonville, AR, Climate

Northwest Arkansas National Airport (XNA)

OZ Trails

USL Arkansas

Ozark Mountains

Mountain Biking Capital of the World

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

Transcript:

James Bell [00:00:01]: Welcome to the Bentonville Beacon, where we bring you success stories from business leaders and owners about their triumphs and growth in the Bentonville and northwest Arkansas community. You’ll hear about how Bentonville has been the backdrop for incredible growth, not only for businesses and their employees, but in their personal lives as well. Tune in, subscribe, and enjoy hearing about Bentonville, where you get more of what you want and less of what you don’t. Welcome back to the Bentonville Beacon podcast, where we’re sharing stories and advice from the entrepreneurs, business executives, and community leaders, sparking the rise of the greater Bentonville area, which represents one of the fastest growing and most dynamic cities and economies in the United States and has nestled in the Ozark Mountains of northwest Arkansas in the heartland of America. Hi, I’m your host, James Bell, and today I am thrilled to have joining me virtually Dave and Jenny Mars as the stars of HGTV’s fixer to Fabulous. Dave and Jenny have captured the hearts of millions by transforming historic houses in desperate need of an update into charming forever homes right here in Bentonville and beyond. Beyond television, they’re deeply committed to our community through projects like the Berry Farm and the welcome Inn, blending their passion for design with a heart for sustainability and local engagement. Today we’re here to share their journey in home renovation, television fame, and the greater Bentonville area. James Bell [00:01:31]: Dave, Jenny, welcome to the Bentonville Beacon. Dave Marrs [00:01:35]: Thank you for having us. Jenny Marrs [00:01:36]: Yes, thank you. Hello. Good morning. James Bell [00:01:38]: You bet. Well, you two are certainly the most famous guests I’ve ever had on the show. So I’m sure a lot of people know about you. But for those who somehow don’t know about you yet, will you share what you would like the audience to know about you? And since this show has a very local focus, what brought you to Bentonville in 2004? Dave Marrs [00:02:01]: Yeah, so we have five kids. We’ve been here, like you said, since 2004. I actually lived here a few years before that. I moved in 2001, but I was in Fayetteville for a little bit, and then I kind of went off to a few other cities and came back with Jenny. And, yeah, we’ve got a construction business, Mars developing. We’ve got a blueberry farm. Like I said, we’ve got five wonderful kids. We have more animals than I could ever count. Dave Marrs [00:02:34]: And yeah, we’ve lived in this area now for the last 20 years, and it’s home. And about 2017, we started a show that really kind of features building and the architecture and the people and the community here in northwest Arkansas. So we are just, we just started filming season six of that about, oh, about two months ago. And. Yeah. So we’re right in the heat of another season. James Bell [00:03:04]: Awesome. Amazing. That sounds. That sounds wonderful. Of course, you know, I can’t let you two off with that easy of an answer, so let’s start with this. Jenny. What’s something most people don’t know about Dave? Jenny Marrs [00:03:17]: Oh, gosh. Something most people don’t know about Dave. Let’s see. There’s so many things he has. He loves fireworks and fire. Dave Marrs [00:03:29]: I do. It’s a true story. Jenny Marrs [00:03:31]: A lot. Like a lot. And every house we’ve ever lived in, we have had the fire department visit and we’ve lived in a lot of houses. James Bell [00:03:38]: Well, I was going to ask. Dave Marrs [00:03:39]: Small warming fire. That’s all it is. Small warming fire. Jenny Marrs [00:03:42]: That’s a good bonfire. Dave Marrs [00:03:43]: I do love a good bonfire. Jenny Marrs [00:03:45]: Sometimes they get out of control. Dave Marrs [00:03:47]: Most times they get out of control, but it’s okay. We’ve never. We’ve never burned down any structures, knock on wood, and we always have a good time. And usually the fire department gets a good laugh out of it, so it’s good. James Bell [00:04:01]: Excellent. I may have accidentally sent the fire, the woods behind our house on fire once with fireworks. My dad was a volunteer fireman. I probably should not admit this. Thankfully, he doesn’t check out any podcasts, so I think I’m safe. Jenny Marrs [00:04:17]: You’re good. I know Dave’s from Colorado originally, so maybe that’s what it is. You were never allowed to do it there, so now you have this. Dave Marrs [00:04:24]: We were always in a burn ban, and here, I mean, whenever that burn ban gets lifted, I just have this inner yearning to go start a fire somewhere. So it may be a problem, but right now I’ve been able to focus it on, you know, on tree branches. We have a ton of stuff that needs pruning all the time, so, yeah, I’ve been able to focus it for good up to this point. Jenny Marrs [00:04:44]: Harness your parabolic. James Bell [00:04:46]: Excellent. Hey, Dave, same question for you. What’s something most people don’t know about Jenny? Jenny Marrs [00:04:51]: What is it? Dave Marrs [00:04:52]: Let’s see here. So this is something that I didn’t know. So I was a biology major in college and studying biology and human anatomy and all that. I actually didn’t realize until I met Jenny that she has what is called a dessert stomach. Jenny Marrs [00:05:09]: That’s true. Dave Marrs [00:05:09]: So she can be as full as literally full can be. And they ask for a dessert menu, and Ginny is 100% in on any desserts. Anytime her family growing up had they had a, like a commercial bakery. And so Jenny did not know a meal without some kind of dessert where it wasn’t a big thing. Colorado with me growing up, but now we’ve kind of become more of a dessert family. We like it so. James Bell [00:05:38]: Excellent. Jenny Marrs [00:05:39]: I actually have. I think I should apply for a medical journal article about the dessert stomachs. Kind of like how cows have extra stomachs. I think there’s an extra stomach that someone. No one has yet discovered except for me. James Bell [00:05:51]: So, yes, I would like to have a dessert stomach that perhaps is disconnected from. Jenny Marrs [00:05:57]: Yeah, yeah. Everyone does. You just. You gotta just. James Bell [00:06:00]: Yeah, I just don’t want it connected to the rest of me so that I can eat the dessert and not suffer from, you know, getting fat. So you are best known around the world for fixer to fabulous, and I definitely want to talk about that amazing show. But will you share briefly, what are some of your. You mentioned some of them, but what are some of your other ventures that people shouldn’t miss? Dave Marrs [00:06:28]: So I think, like, first and foremost, I would say the Berry festival, the Blueberry festival, that’s going to be on June 22 this year. And that is. We have 1500 blueberry plants. We’ve just planted a bunch of grapes. We’ve got just a great venue where people can come out, they can get some good produce and food. Food. There’s food trucks, there’s music. And really, all of it goes to a nonprofit that is near and dear to Ginny and I’s heart that funds a farm training program in Zimbabwe. Dave Marrs [00:07:04]: And so, yeah, the Berry Fest is kind of our family’s passion. So I would say that was first and foremost. We also have a mercantile that we opened a little over a year ago in Centerton that really highlights so many of, like, the local makers and artisans in our area. So it’s a place where people coming from out of town can kind of stop and get a good taste and a good mix of what. What is being made and produced in our local area that a lot of times we use on the show. And, yeah, I mean, it’s something that we are very involved in and something that we love doing. What else? James Bell [00:07:50]: Awesome. Well, if anybody encounters this, I’ll timestamp this. Since you said June 22, is that right? Dave Marrs [00:07:58]: Okay. James Bell [00:07:59]: It’s 2024, so if you catch this next year, then you missed it, and you’ll have to just find next year’s date. That’s exactly right. Been to your mercantile a couple of times in Centerton? It is absolutely wonderful. I was there for the ribbon cutting. That was a fabulous event. I love what you have done with the building. Dave Marrs [00:08:15]: Thank you so much. James Bell [00:08:17]: Hey, no problem. Fixer to fabulous has captured the hearts of many. That’s an understatement. What inspired you to showcase your work on television and what were your expectations? Jenny Marrs [00:08:32]: Well, we definitely weren’t. Weren’t planning on this. Never really had this on our. Dave Marrs [00:08:40]: Radar. Jenny Marrs [00:08:40]: Radar. Yeah. So the network actually knew about our area, so it was really the area that caused the show. The network executive that we worked with had a friend who lived here and has a friend who lives, still lives here and works here. And the network executive named Carrie, who works at HGTV, she came to visit one time and was like, wow, this place is amazing. What a unique small town with big city feels. You know, she just was really enamored with the area. And so she started looking around for couples who were doing renovation work. Jenny Marrs [00:09:19]: And so they contacted us first via email, which I thought was spam. So I deleted it. And then I found out a friend had given them our name. So I was like, oh, okay, this is real. And it was a long. It was, it was kind of a long process. It was about a year process of going back and forth of them coming, you know, to us pushing back. And we were really not wanting to do a show at all. Jenny Marrs [00:09:46]: Number one, we were really concerned about our family. Our kids were really little, really didn’t have a desire to put ourselves out there like that. And then we were concerned about our area. We wanted to make sure that we were gonna, this area would be portrayed in the right way. You know, we knew we both are from other places, so from Florida, Colorado, and I know, like, sometimes when I first moved here, I’d go home and people would be like, what? You live in Arkansas. What do you. Why? And I’m like, it’s amazing. You have to come visit. Jenny Marrs [00:10:16]: And so we wanted to make sure that the show would showcase how amazing it is, you know? And so there was a lot of back and forth in the development process of trying to figure out what that looked like. So, yeah, it was definitely not something that we wanted. We eventually agreed because we thought, okay, well, we can showcase our berry farm, our nonprofit work. We can showcase our community, which is amazing. But really, at the end of the day, we also didn’t think it would go very far. They basically were like, let’s just do a sizzle reel. And that’s probably it. And we’re like, okay, well, we’ll just do that. Jenny Marrs [00:10:50]: And now we have this little video of this moment in time of our kids at the time, they were two, four, and six. The twins were six. And now, you know, those same kids that the two year old’s about to turn ten tomorrow. So I look back at that little video of the kids. They’re out running around on the front porch, and it’s kind of fun to see that little bit of a time stamp. So we thought that was all it would be. And then here we are all these years later. James Bell [00:11:14]: Wow. That’s amazing. That’s a really cool story. I love that you thought it was spam. And I’m really glad, of course, if I were to do something like that, I’ve got a four month old at home. We have a four month old and a four year old. And I can’t imagine just thinking about things in the context of children. But I really love also that you thought about the area, that you cared enough about our area to think about. James Bell [00:11:43]: How will this place be portrayed? Because it is an amazing area. And, yes, folks, if you haven’t been, you should come check it out. Um, forget everything you’ve ever heard and just come check it out and see for yourself. Dave Marrs [00:11:55]: Yeah, it went. I mean, when, like, when we were doing the development of this, and we were, we were really leaning no. We were leaning a hard no. And the, a guy named Adam, he actually, he’s on our production company, and he grew up in Rogers, Arkansas. So he came and we had said no, and he said, hey, can I just meet you all for coffee? And so we went to Starbucks down the road or something, and he said, hey, I’ve followed you guys for a while. I’ve followed your nonprofit work. And he goes, I just want to reassure you, I grew up in Rogers, and we have nothing but the best intention of showing how amazing this place is. And so that was kind of, you know, we went home after that meeting, and he said, he goes, I want you guys to pray about it, and I want you to think that the chances are it will be a pilot, and that’s it. Dave Marrs [00:12:49]: It will never go on. HGTV films 60 to 70 pilots a year, and just a couple of them get picked up. So he said, but, you know, if you have that one chance to highlight your nonprofit work and the area, would it be worth it? And he was a lot, I guess he was a lot better salesman than I realized at the time because we went home and we did, we talked about it and thought, you know what? We’ll just do one house. It’ll be a cool experience, and we’ll move on with our lives. And, yeah, like Jenny said, then it just, who knows if it’s timing, if it’s the right placement on, you know, on the right night where enough people are watching because the show is. It’s what? We have a contract that goes out four or five years with Warner Brothers, but if we don’t rate, if ratings aren’t there, they’ll cancel it. So it’s literally year to year. It’s based on the number of people that watch the show every Tuesday night. James Bell [00:13:44]: Wow. Well, thank you, Adam and Rogers, for being so persuasive. Hey, let’s talk about renovations. Every renovation comes with its own set of challenges. I would love it if you could describe one of your most challenging projects and how you turned it into a rewarding success. And the caveat is, I’ll add that, of course, you should talk about that incredible italian villa that you just finished. But I definitely like to hear about a Bentonville project as well. Jenny Marrs [00:14:13]: Yeah, I mean, we both said the welcome in was probably one of the most challenging for us because it’s our personal project, too, which that always makes it a little more challenging. And we were, at the time that we started and renovated the welcome inn, we were working on our regular season, so we had about eight houses going for the regular show. So it was really a matter of, like, squeezing in, work on the welcome in when we could. And so it was just a really crazy, busy, stressful time. And then the house itself was just, like, overwhelmingly challenging. Everything that could go wrong kept going wrong on that one. And it felt like the money pit for sure at the time. But then once it was all said and done, it’s just, I mean, it became this amazing place that we love. Jenny Marrs [00:15:04]: And, I mean, yeah, it’s an incredible house. And I think anyone else, even us, if we hadn’t been tied in with the show at that point, if we hadn’t got, like, Dave very much considered tearing it down, but we couldn’t do that because we had the show and they were like, you can’t tear it down. You cannot. You have to keep going. But in real life, we might have torn it. Well, we didn’t want to. I don’t know. You went through a moment where you would have. Jenny Marrs [00:15:27]: I think anyone else probably would have torn it down. And thankfully, we didn’t because we were able to save this piece of history. And I think that’s what happens a lot with old homes is they are so challenging and so much work and so much money to restore, but then we lose a little piece of our town’s history and our character and what makes this town so special. So I’m really thankful we didn’t, because I love that house, and I love, I love, we both love old houses. We never want to tear them down. We always want to save them. That one just was a little bit. Dave Marrs [00:15:58]: Of a. Yeah, it was a challenge, but nightmare, you know, it’s, it’s one of those things, like Ginny said, like doing it, redoing an older home is never cheaper. It’s never easier. It just isn’t. But to preserve that little bit of history, what Bentonville was, what it is now, what Rogers was and is now, I think is so important. And that kind of, you mentioned at the start that segues into this italian show that we did last year, where in Italy you have to preserve everything because they won’t let you build new like you are. You know, these old villas. Well, in certain places, but they’ve, I mean, they have really. Dave Marrs [00:16:39]: Well, they’ve had a lot, you know, quite a few more centuries to figure this out than America has. And so they, you know, they value that, you know, the old architecture and the way that certain areas look, and they want to see that preserved. And so I think, I think to do that even with one offs like the welcome in, it does, it preserves history. It preserves a sense of where we came from. I’ll never forget on the welcome in, we literally finished the house, and I was out working on the house, and an older couple stopped by, and it was a guy that had lived there in 1950, and he’d lived in that house, and he was just kind of brought to tears about what we had done and how we had restored it and that we hadn’t torn it down. And it’s in those little moments that, you know, you’re like, yeah, all the bees, all the, all the really hard things, all the issues that we had to go through to get it to where it is, they were worth it. James Bell [00:17:44]: I love hearing that. You know, as an economic developer, that’s one of the things that I worry about. You know, we’re building this amazing town, but losing those little pieces here and there. And, and I’m always excited to, to see how folks are able to preserve parts of this town so that we have this nice mix. Dave Marrs [00:18:05]: Yeah. Yeah, I agree. James Bell [00:18:08]: How do you balance modern trends with the historical integrity of the homes you renovate? Jenny Marrs [00:18:15]: I mean, I think we don’t. Some of the homes we renovate aren’t historic. So if it’s not a historic home and someone wants to make it more modern, then that’s easy. But in historic homes, I think we always encourage our homeowners when we’re working with them, it’s their house. We can’t tell them what to do. But we encourage people to try to really maintain the integrity of the exterior of the home, and then inside, you can do whatever you want. You know, is really kind of our way. We encourage it. Jenny Marrs [00:18:47]: I mean, obviously, there’s a lot of things, like, we live in a home that was built in 1903, and so we’ve renovated, actually, this house now three times, but we’ve kept as much of the original structure, as many of the original elements as we possibly can while still making it function for our family. Obviously, families in 2024 functioned much differently than families in 1903, and the things that we need are different. So we try to really balance those two with functionality, historical integrity, and beauty, you know, and really, again, like outside, we really try to keep as much as we can, keep the house the way it was. Dave Marrs [00:19:30]: Yeah. Jenny Marrs [00:19:31]: Updating it, you know, getting siding and colors that are, you know, functional for our day and age, but they still are historic. And preserve that historical look, but, you know, not using old siding and lead paint and all those things. Yeah, perfect. James Bell [00:19:50]: Keeping our community beautiful. Dave Marrs [00:19:53]: Well, and if you buy. I mean, you know, if you buy an older historic house, like Ginny said, yeah, go change the inside to function for your family. But if you want a modern house, don’t buy a historic house. Buy a modern house, you know, and try not to change the, you know, the entire theme. To change the theme of and the feel and the whole style of the house on the outside is a pretty tough thing to do. To go from a classical craftsman or victorian home to something that’s super modern. It’s just you’re almost at that point rebuilding the whole thing anyway. James Bell [00:20:28]: Makes sense. You operate several community focused businesses. You mentioned the Berry farm, Mars Mercantile, the welcome inn, Mars developing. Will you talk about these and how, in particular, how they reflect your commitment to our area? Dave Marrs [00:20:47]: Well, I think that, you know, the. So the Mars construction or Mars developing and the mercantile are really, you know, when it started, it was. My dad was a builder in Colorado, built log homes in Colorado, and I tried corporate America, which is what got me here to Betonville for a couple years, and then, you know, decided that wasn’t for me and went back in the building. And I think, you know, when we first started, it was Bella Vista, you know, Bella Vista. In the early two thousands, there was, well, nothing going on. And you know, transition, that today where you’re seeing mountain bike trails and you’re seeing a ton of development, and you’re seeing just the growth that bellavist is having. Just one of our communities is. It’s exciting to see. Dave Marrs [00:21:38]: It’s really exciting to see. And I think Mars developing. Like, you know, we were never one of the big builders in this area, but, you know, 30 to 40 homes a year, you know, is something that it’s helping to fill the need of the people that are moving to our area and staying in our area. So that was kind of always really just, I guess if there’s a mission statement for Mars developing, it was just to, you know, to continue to fill the need of the people moving into the area. The mercantile is really a highlight of the people in our area that are, you know, that are, that are doing great things, but maybe just need a bigger platform to showcase those things. And I think the Berry farm is really a reflection of the generosity of our community and of our area. I don’t know that the Berry farm could exist in another community that’s not as amazing and giving as northwest Arkansas. I mean, you think of all of the nonprofits and all of the charities and all of the balls and banquets and things going on in northwest Arkansas, and it seems like every year they’re reaching new goals and new records on what they collect. Dave Marrs [00:22:53]: And I think it’s just a reflection of how giving our community is. I think that’s my favorite thing about Bentonville and northwest Arkansas is just, it’s the people. It’s what Drew, Jenny and I hear it’s what keeps us here. And I think, well, no, I know a lot of the people that I build for or that move into the homes, they’re all coming here initially for their two year stint with their company, that they will move on to another place afterwards. And the percentage of those people that stay, then we rebuild another house for them is much higher than the percentage that move away. So. And I just think that’s a direct reflection of the community we’re in. James Bell [00:23:35]: I’ve heard that story a lot, especially folks coming through the Walmart vendor ecosystem. Right. They’re trying to climb the corporate ladder with their organization. Oh, no, I have to go through Bentonville to get there. I’ll go do my two years. And then more often than not, they either go, why would I leave? Or their partner says, we aren’t leaving. Figure it out. And so they move between companies, the other vendors, and they figure it out, and they make it work. James Bell [00:24:05]: Or they create their own company. And there’s the places I’m also astounded. We’ve been here three and a half years, and I’m also astounded by the generosity of this place and the people that are coming here. I’ve lived all over the country, lived in, grew up in central Arkansas, went to New Orleans, Nashville, Chicago, Denver, Memphis. And now we’re here and we’re done, and we’re never leaving. And it’s number one because of the people here and the quality of life here, and I just don’t see any reason to ever go anywhere else. Dave Marrs [00:24:38]: We agree. Jenny Marrs [00:24:39]: Yeah, feel the same. James Bell [00:24:42]: Talk about the environment in the greater Bentonville area for business when it comes to interacting with governments. City of Bentonville, Centerton, Rogers, any of them, really, or community organizations like the one I work at, the greater Bentonville Area Chamber of Commerce, or downtown Bentonville Incorporated, or visit Bentonville, and I could go on with this list. But I guess what I’m asking is, will you talk about how these or others have been helpful to your success and why they make business easier here? Dave Marrs [00:25:15]: Well, I mean, I think it’s. They definitely do, and I think probably the main reason that we’re able to have success in these cities. Well, I think it started with relationship, just building a business and relationships which goes back to our community. But really, even now, it’s accessibility. Like, there’s, you have, I mean, we, you know, we had a meeting with Mayor Ormond two days ago. We’re meeting with the mayor of Centerton tomorrow morning to look at some other projects and look at something in the future. And, I mean, this is something that I didn’t schedule out months in advance. They’re out in our community. Dave Marrs [00:26:01]: They are accessible. They’re willing because they want to see the communities grow and thrive. And, I mean, it’s great. It’s great to be. Rogers was the same way when we did the welcome in. The first thing I did, I went to the city of Rogers and I said, hey, this is, guys, this is what Jenny and I are thinking about doing. Can you go through roadblocks? Can you assist me in any way? And they were so willing, from the inspectors to the fire marshal to the mayor, to whomever we needed. And, yeah, I mean, we put a show behind it, but it was even that way before the show, there was still accessibility. Dave Marrs [00:26:43]: I mean, I’ll never forget, like Jenny and I, when going through our adoption process, like, all the way up to state representatives and anyone that could help us to get Sylvie home and bring Sylvie home. They were always willing to just kind of go really above and beyond what you would ever expect. And I think that’s, again, it’s just a reflection, I keep saying it, of the community and the people that live here. James Bell [00:27:12]: Yeah, exactly. That same experience. The distance between people and accessibility is unbelievably short. I’ve just not experienced that anywhere else as well. This place is really special that way. The trademark question of this show has become the hashtag, because Bentonville story. And that’s a story where something happened and you look back at it and you think, that could only happen here. Or maybe it describes the essence of this area. James Bell [00:27:44]: Will one of you, or maybe both of you share a hashtag? Because Bentonville story. Jenny Marrs [00:27:50]: I have so many. I’m trying to think which one. James Bell [00:27:52]: Share as many as you want. Jenny Marrs [00:27:54]: Well, one was when we were still in our adoption process. Sylvia was born in the Congo, and she was there for two years. Stuck for two years. She was officially legally our daughter. She had her us passport visa. She just wasn’t allowed to leave the country. And so we were working with a lot of legislators and things to try to get her out. But in the meantime, we started a nonprofit called feed their tummies, where we were feeding the kids. Jenny Marrs [00:28:28]: At her orphanage, there were about 80 kids, and then it grew, and we were feeding about 200, and it was about 220 kids every day. And this community just rallied around, and I don’t even know how to describe it except for generosity, like Dave was saying, just to make sure those kids got a meal. And every month, I would wire over the money for the next month’s food, and it was like, I just never knew where it was going to come from, ever. I was always just scrapping it together from little. I would do all these little fundraisers. I was, you know, put a mom on something, and they will do it. I had other moms that were helping, and it was just, like, crazy how we just sort of every month we had the right amount of money to send over. And so JD Bayram, a friend of ours, called me one day, and he’s like, hey, I’m thinking of starting this concert series, and I’m going to have people pay, but I don’t know what to do with the money. Jenny Marrs [00:29:23]: Would you guys use it for your feeding program? And I was like, yes, I would. Yes. So that’s how back in the day, it was called Bentonville Sessions. It’s now city sessions. It’s now become a whole thing. But that’s how city Sessions started. Was JD wanted to start a local concert series. We needed money for our nonprofit, and we worked together and did that for a couple years. Jenny Marrs [00:29:46]: And literally, where else would that happen? Where? I mean, anywhere else. It’s like they’re just wanting to make money to make money, right? I mean, why don’t you just pay the artist or create a business? But he wanted to give the money away. And so I think of that all the time of just like, that is just, like, the hallmark of the generosity of this area. And people showed up and they came to these concerts, and it’s now grown and become a whole thing that happens outside of us completely. And it’s been fun to watch that grow and change, and that was before the berry farm and all things have changed. But that, I think, is a good example of this community and the way that everyone just is looking out for one another. James Bell [00:30:28]: Yeah, that’s incredible. Thank you, JD. And city sessions is amazing. So, yeah, well, thinking about the importance of family, and we’re already hearing that in this story, how does the greater Bentonville area in northwest Arkansas help you live, work, and play in ways that other areas perhaps cannot? Jenny Marrs [00:30:48]: Oh, gosh. Yeah. Dave Marrs [00:30:50]: Well, I think from everything from cost of living to the amenities that we have here to the seasons, I mean, right now, it’s incredible outside. It’s just the weather is beautiful. And so you put all of those things together, and now we’re getting. We have an airport that’s expanding to give us more accessibility to travel when we want to, but always be able to come back home. The mountain bike trails, just everything that is being built in this area, I’ve been saying it for, you know, my gosh, well, since we moved here. But, I mean, we’re like that. We’re. We’re just continually going to the next bar, and you think, well, when we get there, that’s going to be it. Dave Marrs [00:31:40]: And then a whole new bar and a whole new level is set. And I don’t know where the. I mean, where this all ends. I mean, you know, if you have, you know, like a minor league soccer team coming here and you have just. There’s so much activity and so much momentum and so much going on. One of the houses I sold a few years ago, a guy was just passing through, moving from Miami, and he was moving to Fort Collins, Colorado, which I went to Colorado state. And Fort Collins is an awesome town. I mean, it’s a really, really cool town. Dave Marrs [00:32:18]: And he went to Fort Collins because he wanted to go there for mountain biking, but he had stopped here because he heard about the mountain biking. So he stopped here. He did his mountain biking thing, went on to Fort Collins. Well, a month later, I sold him a house because he got to Fort Collins and said, it’s not like northwest Arkansas. It’s not the same. My cost of living is less. There is better mountain biking, there’s better experiences. And he said, so he goes, all my friends from Miami thought I was going to the Rocky Mountains to do mountain biking, and now I live in the Ozark Mountains, and I love it. Dave Marrs [00:32:54]: And that story is, it’s becoming more of a common story. And so I think the more people see our show, the more people are here for work, the more they just come for the mountain biking experience. It’s changing what brings people and keeps people. When Jenny and I moved here, you were a vendor for Walmart. I mean, in the early two thousands, that was the reason you came to northwest Arkansas. I think that’s changing now where people are coming and we’re getting, you know, I mean, we’re just getting other draws. There still is that Walmart draw, but there are other things that people, that they come here and then end up staying here. James Bell [00:33:38]: Yeah. I mean, just three and a half years ago, and when I was, my family was looking at coming here even before that, and I was talking with people around the country, and then after I landed here, and we, and I started traveling to other places to talk with business leaders. At that time, people even still kind of looked at me a little sideways when I said things like, mountain biking capital of the world, or talked about anything that wasn’t Walmart, or the reason they knew about Bentonville was Walmart, or they think they saw the name on a truck somewhere. And then more recently, in the last couple of years, and really, especially in the last years, I’ve traveled, and I can think of a particular place, I was in Silicon Valley, and I’m sitting at a table of ten people. And as we went around the table, introducing ourselves, when it got around, people were from all over the world. When it got around to me, I talked about the place, and then at the end said Bentonville. And the guy sitting next to me the whole time had been looking at his phone over and over again. He said, I knew it. James Bell [00:34:43]: My wife kept talking about this place, Bentonville, that she wanted to go visit, and I just knew that’s where you were talking about. And everybody around the table talked about different aspects of Bentonville that were not Walmart at all. I was surprised that nobody actually said Walmart, but they all knew about Bentonville in some way, including the guy from southern Colorado who said, I’m coming there to shred some trails in a few weeks, which is great. Looking ahead as we start wrapping up here, you know, looking ahead and to the extent that you can share them, what new projects or initiatives are you excited about in the coming year? Jenny Marrs [00:35:28]: I don’t know. We have a lot. I don’t know. We can share all of them. I mean, we’re in the process right now filming season six, and we have some great projects in the works, some really, we’re, this year we’re doing, we’re doing some different things. I think we’re able, the networks has been very like, the network has to approve every project we do, right. So they’ve always been really like, you can only do a house for a family. That’s it. Jenny Marrs [00:35:55]: And now we’re doing some different things. It’s going to be a fun year. We have a lot of unique projects, I think. Yeah, that’s all I can say, I guess. Dave Marrs [00:36:04]: Well, we hope that, I’ll say a little bit more than we hope to have something else in Centerton that will be a draw other than the mercantile that will bring more people. So we’re working on that right now. I can’t say exactly what, yeah, we. Jenny Marrs [00:36:21]: Do see that as a big opportunity, honestly, for us. There’s so much growth in the Centerton area with housing, but not necessarily with things to do. People, you know, you still have to go somewhere else in northwest Arkansas to have a meal, you know, I mean, sit down with a family. So we’re really trying to create more experience, another destination place with things that you can do while you’re there is important to us. Dave Marrs [00:36:50]: And I think that’s, you know, that’s a focus, a big focus of ours, too. We love Bentonville or love Bentonville, but I think Bentonville only benefits if all the smaller surrounding communities grow and thrive as well. And I know that’s a big focus of the Walton foundation and what Walmart is doing to create experiences in every town, in every area. And so any way that we can help with that, we’re all about it. I think we’re going to do a really quick build this year. We’re going to do a project that kind of involves St. Jude. That’s really a fun one and an important one. Dave Marrs [00:37:31]: And so, yeah, like Jenny said, we’ve got some cool projects. There’s a, there may be. I know I’m not supposed to talk about him, but I don’t care. But yeah, no, there’s a lot of good ones. Just watch. There’ll be some really, really fun ones. James Bell [00:37:45]: Awesome. Well, I’m glad to have spent 19 years in Memphis. I’m really excited to hear about that St. Jude project. And, you know, Mayor, Mayor Bill or Mayor Edwards and I have talked about Centerton a number of times and the need for more restaurants and things to do there. So I’m excited to hear that perhaps you are doing something in that space. And you’re exactly right. There’s a reason we call it the greater Bentonville area, and that’s not because of just Bentonville. James Bell [00:38:12]: Right. There’s Pea Ridge, Bella Vista, Centerton, all these wonderful towns around us. And we all have to grow together. And it’s to our benefit to all grow and develop together. So how can our audience members learn more about you and all your fabulous business and businesses and projects? Is there a single point of information for that? Jenny Marrs [00:38:35]: And, you know, usually we share most on instagram. That’s probably the easiest place. So Jenny Mars and Dave Mars, pretty easy. Dave Marrs [00:38:45]: Awesome. Try to keep it simple. James Bell [00:38:48]: Awesome. And I found Dave and jennymars.com as well, which seems to be excellent if somebody wants to connect, if they have a budget for a home renovation and they would love to be fixer to fabulous famous or have their home be fixer to fabulous famous, how do they do that? Dave Marrs [00:39:06]: So they could send an email to Dave and Jenny Mars, like, to daveandjennymars.com or. Well, that’s a good place to start. So there’s a casting company that goes through all of the initial pitches and the initial people that want to be on the show. It starts with Warner Brothers. So then the HGTV will decide, yes, this fits within what we’re looking for for the season. Once they approve the family in the project, then Jenny and I will go and say, yes, we can do this in the timeframe or no, we can’t. So it’s a bit of a process, but an email, I guess, is the best place to start. James Bell [00:39:46]: I love that insight. A lot of people, I don’t think, realize what goes into these, into these shows and what all the back, the back end looks like. So it’s really cool. Dave Marrs [00:39:55]: It’s a lot, we film about 120 hours of footage that is cut into a 43 minutes show. So it’s a lot of filming, it’s a lot of interviews, a lot of stuff that never makes the show, but it’s all part of the bigger picture of getting the show. James Bell [00:40:13]: Well, I have to ask. Then, uh, you know, just last night, I stumbled across a video. Uh, you mentioned parts that don’t get into shows. Uh, you had a little incident in, uh, Italy, didn’t you? I was laughing hysterically about figs, and we’ll never eat more than three as a result of that clip. Jenny Marrs [00:40:30]: They were so good. Dave Marrs [00:40:31]: They were so good. It was so hot out. And I. Well, so I get. I get on a project and I’ll start working on. I think I was working on a table or. I don’t know, I was working on something. Well, I get into it, and so I just miss. Dave Marrs [00:40:46]: I miss meals and keep going. And, um, well, then I just made it up with figs, which turns out is not the best thing to do. So, yeah, it was a. My stomach was hurting for a little bit, and there were a few, you know, emergencies, but we got, we got through it. James Bell [00:41:03]: That’s great. Dave Marrs [00:41:05]: And I want, like, that’s. I think Jenny and I, when we started this show, we said, hey, we want this to be authentic. We want it to be, hey, this is real life. We make mistakes. But you know what? As a family, we get through them and we, we move forward as a family. And so I don’t. I mean, that’s fine with me. If they. Dave Marrs [00:41:24]: I was actually surprised they cut it. Usually our producers, our production company, they’ll, they’ll put as much in as they think they can get away with. And HGTV and Warner brothers usually cuts, you know, cuts a lot more of. I think we should do a bloopers, you know, episode every year. But right now, HGTV doesn’t want to do that. So we’ll see. We’ll just keep. We’ll keep putting them on little snippets and little deleted scenes. James Bell [00:41:49]: Outstanding. The people should push for that. Always love to ask a whimsical question to sort of get into the heads of the folks. I’m interviewing a little bit more, and I’d love to know for you all, you know, and we’ll ask about a whimsical feature in the whimsical question, what’s one whimsical feature that you’d love to add to a home, but maybe you haven’t had the chance to do it yet. Jenny Marrs [00:42:17]: I don’t know. You’ve done a lot crazy stuff. I don’t know. Dave Marrs [00:42:24]: Well, so it’s based on theme, and I can’t. This one, I can’t tell you. We’re actually, we’re doing something that is very whimsical, that is very british inspired that will be on this season. And it’s a. I’m a huge fan of secret doors and of secret spaces and just, like, creating something out of nothing. So one of our kind of most watch episodes, we had a countertop that slid away, that went down to a wine cellar. James Bell [00:42:57]: Oh, yeah. Dave Marrs [00:42:59]: The network really pushes us to always find those. The water cooler moments, the moments that people will talk about long after the show is over. So we’re always trying to find new ideas and create new ways to take our show to the next level. We’ve got a couple good ideas this year that I think are very european inspired, so you’ll just have to wait and watch. But they’re good. James Bell [00:43:29]: Great. Can’t wait to see them. What are some unexpected lessons that you’ve learned from working in home renovation and on television? Dave Marrs [00:43:38]: I think probably that the first year of filming was really hard for me in particular because we were. I was trying to get a house. I was trying to get a house done, you know, because they are. They are jobs. They’re, you know, they’re people they want to get back in their home. We have work to do. But realizing that the production company also has a job to do, they’re doing just as hard, if not harder work than we are on the construction of the house, trying to cut a show. So those moments that first year where they’d say, hey, we need all your guys to stop working. Dave Marrs [00:44:11]: We need them to step outside so we can film something. We found something, we uncovered a problem, and we need it quiet. And I would get so frustrated because, you know, it’s really hard to tell someone that you’re paying, hey, go out and not work for, you know, an hour while we do this scene. But after that first year and seeing that first season come together and how they cut the show, we just kind of build it in now. Like, hey, there’s going to be downtimes. And so we’ll have spec houses that we’re working on at the same time as the show. So we can just kind of shift those subcontractors back and forth and always, or at least as best, we can always keep them moving. James Bell [00:44:54]: Excellent. Keeps you on your toes. I have to ask. You said something earlier in that moment. I thought about it. It’s hard for people, I think, sometimes to realize that you’re not doing one job at a time. Did you say earlier that in a season you might do eight houses at a time? Dave Marrs [00:45:14]: We do 16. Typically in a season is 16 different houses. So usually we’ll do four blocks of four houses. Okay. But it never works out because one of them runs long or we have one that’s going to take longer. So we started early. So there’s always four to six. Right now we have. Jenny Marrs [00:45:35]: At one point we had ten at a time. Dave Marrs [00:45:37]: Yeah. Jenny Marrs [00:45:38]: And we were traveling the past two years, we had. We were traveling back and forth to Colorado for hometown takeover, and then last year, we were traveling back and forth to Italy. So we had. It was just, like, chaos, and the schedule was chaotic. So this year we were like, we’re not going anywhere. Trying to pull back here a little bit because it’s been a crazy couple years. Dave Marrs [00:45:58]: Yeah. Jenny Marrs [00:45:59]: But, yes, there’s a lot going on. So it’s not just the one house. So typically when we’re filming, we’ll stop in usually about four houses a day. And so we’ll change shirts. So I change shirts a lot. Dave just wears the black shirt. It’s easy. So it looks like a new day. Jenny Marrs [00:46:17]: So when you watch, sometimes I’m wearing. If you watch episodes back to back if I’m wearing, because sometimes we’ll just go to two different houses and I’ll wear the same shirt because it’s two episodes, so you can kind of figure it out. Dave Marrs [00:46:29]: I just changed my hat for creative editing, so it’s. It’s pretty easy for me. They’ve got about ten black shirts on. On set where, you know, when I rip them or I get sawdust all over them or whatever, they just. They switch your shirt out. So it’s really easy for me. It takes one of those decisions out of my. My daily routine, which is really nice. James Bell [00:46:51]: Excellent. I love it. The easy wardrobe change. Only have one question left for you, and that’s what’s something that I should have asked but did not ask. Dave Marrs [00:47:05]: Um. Wow, that is a good question. You stumped me on that one. Um, yeah, I got nothing. Jenny Marrs [00:47:14]: I might. I would say my. One of the things that we did this last year was I launched my book, which was really fun. I forgot to mention that. That was fun. Yeah. James Bell [00:47:23]: Talk about that. Dave Marrs [00:47:24]: He’s an incredible author, and so. Yes. Jenny Marrs [00:47:26]: But that was exciting. That was definitely, like, a big accomplishment. Yeah. James Bell [00:47:34]: Awesome. We’ll talk about it. What’s the book, and how can people find it? What’s it about? Jenny Marrs [00:47:39]: Home. And it’s about just making your house a home, essentially, and taking all the lessons we’ve learned over the past couple decades. And also, I share stories. It’s kind of part memoir, part home design book. I didn’t want it to just be about like, here’s how to make your, you know, here’s how to pick a couch. So, yeah, you can find it anywhere books are sold. But it’s really, it’s, we tell, I tell stories about our family and our home and then stories and examples from homes that we’ve remodeled and renovated. And Dave has his little corner of little, he has Dave’s corner where he shares projects he’s done and kind of how to’s for people who, you know, like if you want to do a project over a weekend, Dave gives step by step instructions. Jenny Marrs [00:48:27]: So, yeah, it was, it was about two, it took about two years and to finish. So it’s a big deal. Yeah, yeah, it was a big, big accomplishment. James Bell [00:48:37]: Awesome. Okay, one more time. What’s the name of the book? Jenny Marrs [00:48:39]: And oh, yes, it’s house plus love equals home. And it’s available at, you know, Walmart, Amazon, anywhere, mercantile. You can get signed copies at our mercantile. Anyway. James Bell [00:48:51]: Yeah, perfect. Well, Dave and Jenny, thank you. Your stories today have really eliminated the art and dedication behind fixer and fabulous, but I think it also shows your profound commitment to fostering a sense of community right here in the greater Bentonville area. So thank you. And your passion for transforming homes really mirrors your passion for enhancing our community fabric and making our area not just a great place to live, but a wonderful place to thrive. So again, thank you for sharing your journey and your challenges and your visions with our audience and for being here today on the Bentonville Beacon. Dave Marrs [00:49:31]: Appreciate your time. Thank you. James Bell [00:49:33]: Hey, to our Bentonville Beacon audience. Thank you for tuning in to this engaging conversation. You know, this podcast is brought to you by the Greater Bentonville Area Chamber of Commerce, where I serve as vice president for economic development. Remember, the stories we explore on the show spotlight the extraordinary people and projects and organizations that elevate the greater Bentonville area. So share this episode with anyone who loves a great transformation story or is interested in the nuts and bolts of transforming historic houses or any house in desperate need of an update into charming forever homes. But all doing that while building community. So whether you’re catching us on bentonvillebeacon.com, comma, YouTube, or your favorite podcast platform, make certain that you subscribe so you don’t miss out on future episodes that shine a light on the unique dynamism of the greater Bentonville area in northwest Arkansas. Until next time, let’s keep supporting and celebrating, celebrating the ventures and visions that continue to transform our community as a beacon of innovation and charm. James Bell [00:50:40]: Goodbye for now, and we’ll see you next time on the Bentonville beacon.

Share this episode now:

Subscribe Where You Listen To Podcasts