A Year of Unprecedented Growth

Home In The News Newsletter A Year of Unprecedented Growth

Against the backdrop of global economic uncertainty, Paris and Lamar County have continued to demonstrate signs of economic resilience and growth. Despite challenges, our community has not only persevered but emerged stronger, with increased momentum for the future. The Paris Economic Development Corporation (PEDC) has seen extraordinary growth in projects and job announcements over the past year. Hard work and smart planning have truly paid off. Notably, three significant project announcements promised the creation of 280 new jobs, injecting a projected $117.5 million in new capital investment and adding approximately $15 million annually to our local payroll.

Project Announcements
In March of 2023, Universal Fabricating announced the selection of Lamar County for its first U.S. location, a decision underscoring our city’s strategic location and robust workforce. Their anticipated 100 new quality jobs are well underway, with 70 positions already filled. This announcement marks the first time in years that we’ve had a foreign direct investment of this scale.

In April 2023, Houston-based Ametsa Packaging, LLC, announced selecting Paris, Texas, for a sugar liquefication and packaging plant and 100 new quality jobs. They have quickly breathed life into the former Skinner facility and quickly scaled up their workforce and operations with production and packaging lines.

In expansion news, Huhtamaki announced plans in August 2023 for an expansion that will see 80 new jobs, increasing their already impressive workforce of 200. This project promises approximately $75 million in new investment for 400,000 square feet of facility expansions and road and rail enhancements.

In outreach, the Paris Economic Development Corporation (PEDC) team met with several existing businesses throughout the year, including Kimberly Clark, Potters, Rodgers Wade, MAXX-D, American SpiralWeld, Campbell Soup, and many others. Prioritizing our existing business and industry is a priority of the PEDC. Huhtamaki’s announcement is a testament to why supporting your existing employer base is so important to a community’s economic health.

Huhtamaki Groundbreaking, Photo by Tony Boss

The total economic impact of these developments extends well beyond the immediate creation of jobs and infusion of capital. Retailers, service companies, and other local businesses will benefit significantly from the increased local spending power. Over the next 10 years, these projects will infuse an estimated total economic impact of $1 billion into our regional economy. The ripple effect of these investments will stimulate further economic activity, enhancing the vitality of our community and reinforcing Paris and Lamar County’s reputation as a thriving hub for business and industry.

Development Milestones
In addition to welcoming new beginnings, the PEDC celebrated milestones of previously announced projects. These formerly announced projects are now visibly enhancing our economic landscape. Notable occasions included joining the Texas Department of Transportation in breaking ground on their new district headquarters in PEDC-owned Gene Stallings Business Park, Delco’s grand opening of a state-of-the-art 550,000 SF facility on HWY 82 West, and LionsHead Specialty Tire and Wheel’s groundbreaking for a new 120,000 SF facility in PEDC-owned NW Industrial Park. We also joined Huhtamaki as they broke ground on their expansion project.

Planning For the Future
Alongside business attraction, retention, and expansion activities, we expanded our land holdings by acquiring a 123-acre site in South Paris in July 2023, bringing our total land inventory to over 500 acres for industrial development. We unveiled a new brand for the PEDC, in partnership with the City, Chamber, and Visitors and Convention Council, which greatly improved our marketing initiatives and strengthened our shared goals and partnerships. In August, we introduced a state-of-the-art website showcasing demographics, site listings, talent recruitment tools, and more. A major win was landing a $1.3 million grant from the US Department of Commerce, helping us make needed infrastructure improvements, such as upgrading City-owned 34th Street, constructing a deceleration lane off Loop 286, and extending J Eagan Street within the industrial park.

2024 Outlook
Looking to the future, our outlook is positive. The PEDC is committed to aggressively pursuing our core mission to attract, retain, and expand businesses while leveraging the foundation from the past years to catalyze further growth and prosperity for our community. Our focus will remain on supporting existing businesses and industries that serve as the cornerstone of our community’s economic well-being. Along those lines, we will be championing workforce development initiatives tailored to align with the changing needs of the job market and utilizing our new brand and website to attract talent. We will revisit and refine our plan of work to ensure it remains relevant and impactful. Lastly, we will continue to forge and nurture relationships and partnerships, which are fundamental to our collective success as a community.

We’re only four months into the year, and we’ve already embarked on an exciting journey highlighted by notable progress and two major project announcements. Amazon has announced plans for a new last-mile facility, and Rodgers Wade anticipates creating 40 new jobs, signaling a promising start. Stay tuned for more exciting developments from the PEDC as the year unfolds.

Here’s to a momentous year ahead— a year where Paris, Texans, will reach higher together.

by Maureen Hammond, Executive Director