Paris, Texas, has a surprisingly strong industrial base for a city with a population of only about 25,000. Campbell Soup, Sara Lee and Kimberly-Clark all have manufacturing plants there.
There's also a regional medical center. These employers also draw workers from the surrounding area, which is why Paris has several large retail stores, including plans for a new Petco next year.
"You wouldn't expect to see an OfficeMax and a Home Depot and a Chili's and an Appleby's in a town our size," says Vic Ressler, a broker at Century 21 Executive Realty.
"It's a big little town," Ressler says. Popular annual events listed on the Visitors and Convention Council's website include the Tour de Paris bike race, Uncle Jesse's Memorial Big Bass Classic and the All Police Rodeo.
Paris, less than 20 miles from the Oklahoma border and about 100 miles northeast of Dallas, remains one of the most affordable towns in Texas and the country.
For the first 10 months of the year, home sales and prices were roughly flat with year-ago levels, says Chad Brown, broker-owner of Coldwell Banker Regional Realty.
Home construction has "really slowed," Brown says, in part because it's harder to pass on to customers the rising costs of materials.