Million Stories Media digital channel’s “American Paycheck” series will feature Erwin’s comeback from the departure of CSX Transportation’s railway operations in an episode set to go live on Thursday, July 23, at millionstories.com.“
American Paycheck” is a show that travels the United States to see how people make and spend their money and how they cope with adverse financial situations in their communities.
The Erwin episode will feature “local heroes” from various professional fields, including the town’s Communications Specialist Jamie Rice, founding president of the RISE Erwin group that has spent the past five years organizing community events that have brought new life to Erwin’s downtown area.
According to a narrative of the episode provided by Jeff Hare, a public relations executive for the Singleton Foundation for Financial Literacy and Entrepreneurship that supports Million Stories Media, like many young small-town folks, Rice left her native Erwin for a bigger city after college.
She later returned to her hometown and opened The Bramble wedding and events venue.
The same month the Bramble opened, the town was hit by the calamity of CSX’s departurem which took away 300 good paying railroad jobs, threatened the regional economy and devastated a town with a railroading heritage that dated back more than 100 years.
From there, Rice went on to become the leader of RISE Erwin, a group of young professionals, Erwin business owners and others who worked together to revitalize “this slice of small-town America.”
Also featured in the episode will be Brandy and Tyler Bevins, an Erwin couple who capitalized on the wealth of natural beauty surrounding their community with the opening of their Erwin Outdoor Supply shop in downtown.
“American Paycheck will report on how the shop’s grand opening brought 1,600 people to downtown Erwin and feature the Bevinses’ thoughts on the benefits of doing business in a small town.
Jason Howze, owner and operator of the Noli Food Truck, will also be featured in the episode
While not a member of RISE Erwin, Howze speaks to “American Paycheck” about Erwin’s entrepreneurial spirit and business revival as he retells the story of how he began as a competition barbecuer and traveled around the region building his food truck’s brand before coming back to Erwin fulltime in 2019.
Hare said filmmakers Brad Hunt and Andrew Daly were instrumental in choosing Erwin to highlight in the “American Paycheck” series.
Million Stories Media is a new, free online channel that, according to Hare, “harnesses the power of entertainment and storytelling to make money matters easy, inspiring and manageable.”
He said the Singleton Foundation’s mission is “to make financial competence fun and engaging for everyone by using the power of entertainment to capture attention, create change, promote entrepreneurship and to inspire individual achievement.”
Editors Note: This story has been modified to correct a misspelling of the last name of Erwin business owners Brandy and Tyler Bevins.