PERRYVILLE, MO (KFVS) - You hear the stories a lot: A plant shuts down, the unemployment rate is up and more people are looking for work.
As the country weathers some very tough economic times, no community is immune.
However, there are a few towns in the Heartland that are weathering the storm and doing quite well. One such town lies about 30 miles north of Cape Girardeau, right off Interstate 55.
With a population of 8,000, Perryville is peaceful, quiet and prosperous. Tidy storefronts and manicured lawns speak of a charm and a pride in Perryville. Everyone REALLY does know everyone here.
The Perryville Downtown Revitalization Committee gets together frequently to help make the town square not necessarily bigger, but better.
They know that lots of Perryville residents head to Cape Girardeau or St. Louis to shop on Saturdays so they're looking at ways to keep that traffic in town.
Katina Wahlers and her husband Jon recently renovated one of the oldest buildings on the square.
They opened Tin and Cotton Trading Company last fall. Step into the charming space and you'll find an upscale consignment store with new things sprinkled about.
Katina describes she and her husband as "entrepreneurs." "It's in our blood. This is what we love to do," says the mother of two young boys.
Katina hopes her children are learning a thing or two about their entrepreneurial spirit, "I hope that by watching us, they'll learn the value of hard work."
Not far from Tin and Cotton sits another new store. Hopi Lane Music Store opened just a few weeks ago.
As far as owner Stan Denninger knows, it's Perryville's first music store. "This is my dream, this is my life savings and this is home," says Denninger.
The business offers music lessons and sells instruments. While a few stores have gone under, ten new ones have opened up in the last year alone.
Melissa Hemmann, Executive Director of Perryville's Chamber of Commerce, says the town has an "attitude" and "spirit" that encourages people to give the city a shot.
The town also has three major employers in TG Missouri, Sabreliner and Gilster Mary Lee. Employing thousands, the companies keep growing but rather than grow in other areas where they have plants, they add the jobs in Perryville.
All of this keeps Perryville's unemployment rate at 4.1%, the lowest of nearby counties. That low unemployment rate, coupled with its thriving economy, even grabbed the attention of Forbes Magazine. "Companies believe in Perryville. We're a welcoming community," says Hemmann.
While new stores are constantly springing up in Perryville, the Downtown Revitalization Committee is coming up with new plans for the town's historic square.
Look for fun events including music, shopping and food. Perryville knows that bigger doesn't necessarily mean better, but BETTER makes things bigger!