I was drawn to an article on Clayton, NC. Clayton's 2010 population was 16,116; up from 6,973 in 2000. (That is well over doubling in 10 years!) Local employers are Caterpiller, Grifols, and Norvo Nordisk.
The town website says:
Commercial development along US 70 through town has changed the face of Clayton in recent years with thriving retail and service sectors.. However, downtown Clayton still boasts quaint specialty and coffee shops, a thriving financial services area, furniture stores, restaurants, jewelry stores, and more than a dozen personal care businesses. Some of Clayton’s oldest businesses, Beddingfield’s Drugs (1919, Jone’s Lunch (1958) and TR Lee Gas & Oil (1958) still operate downtown today. In recent years, a strong effort to protect and preserve the traditional downtown has helped the area maintain its economic vigor and historic charm.
Sounds like the vision of many a small town I know.