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Community expo draws businesses

February 20, 2005|by BONNIE H. BRECHBILL

bonnieb@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - "Where's Rouzerville?"

The new Rouzerville Business Association is answering that question, according to one of its founders, Ann Backer, owner of Blondie's Catering in the small Washington Township municipality.

Business association members occupied a busy booth Saturday at the Community Lifestyle Expo at Waynesboro Area Senior High School.

The Expo had 34 exhibitors, the most in the nine-year history of the event, according to Mary Beth Hockenberry, director of the chamber.

In the five months since its founding with six businesses, the Rouzerville Business Association has increased to a membership of 15.

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"We worked with (the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation) for better signs" directing travelers to Rouzerville, Backer said.

Signs have been posted at Exit 3 of Interstate 81 and at approaches to Rouzerville from Maryland and Gettysburg, Pa.

"Our mission is to get Rouzerville businesses united to benefit all Rouzerville businesses," Backer said.

A Lowe's store and a Wal-Mart are coming, Backer said. The complex where they will be built is called Rouzerville Commons. With the help of Washington Township Manager Mike Christopher, the association convinced Echo Realty to name it that rather than Waynesboro Commons, said Backer, who has run Blondie's for 24 years.

The group will hold the first Rouzerfest at Red Run Park in August, she said. Food and craft vendors, live music and train rides will be part of the event.

"We're trying to regenerate interest," Backer said. "We're not going to stand by and see what happens. We want to be part of what happens."

Local civic groups have been involved in the push to publicize all that's good about the town, Backer said.

"The Lions' Club and the Ruritan both came to us and said, 'What can we do to get this going?'" Backer said.

A first-time exhibitor, Hagerstown Business College received a "wonderful" response to its free blood pressure screening, said Elaine Moxley, medical instructor at the college. HBC offers both nine-month certificate courses and two-year degree programs in various medical careers.

First National Bank of Greencastle has come to Expo every year "since we moved our office to Waynesboro," Branch Manager Kim Shockey said. "We want to support the community and thank the community for their business. We want to retain a 'hometown bank' feeling," she said, handing out punching balloons and information about bank services and bus trips.

At the Edward Jones booth, furnished with two wing chairs and a display case of old railroad stock certificates, investment representative Peter Walters introduced himself to people.

"My business is about meeting people," he said. "If I find an interest in investments, we talk about it."

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