"This shopping complex has provided enormous amounts of new sales tax dollars in the state of Pennsylvania," Christopher said.
Christopher has been the township manager for more than 30 years and figures that he recognizes most local people, even if they're not known to him by name. That's why the customer base at Rouzerville Commons intrigues him.
"I go into Lowe's and Wal-Mart and Applebee's, there's some Waynesboro people there, but there are a lot of people I've never seen before," Christopher said, adding that a large percentage of the license plates in the parking lot are from out of state.
That was exactly the idea promoted when grants were obtained for the community, said L. Michael Ross, president of the Franklin County (Pa.) Area Development Corp.
"My intuition tells me right now, and based on our initial projections, that the grant money that went into the Rouzerville area ($1.2 million for infrastructure) has come back into the state," Ross said.
Marylanders have found they can purchase clothing and food in Pennsylvania without paying sales tax, Ross said.
"Once they're here, they buy something at Applebee's for lunch," Christopher said.
Community leaders have praised the big stores' offerings and neighborhood involvement.
"To have a Lowe's and a Wal-Mart here is like a godsend," Bob Backer said. "I go over there probably five times a week to one or the other. It's so good to have it so close (considering) the price of fuel."
"Very seldom do I go to Hagerstown because I don't have to. Especially with gas prices now, I'm glad I don't have to go to Hagerstown anymore," said Carlene Willhide, executive director of the Greater Waynesboro Chamber of Commerce.
Even with the diversity of products offered by Wal-Mart, many people hold on to wish lists like Ann Backer's.
"I would love to have a store (like Staples). There's absolutely nothing like that here. We need a bookstore, we need a coffee shop and we need a shoe store. We don't have a card store (or) pet store. These are all things we travel out of (Rouzerville) for," she said.
"The real challenge is to find a way for our locals to embrace that opportunity and develop businesses that can offer those additional products," Christopher said. That includes ways to take advantage of tourism, he said.
"It's an opportunity for the downtown (Waynesboro) businesses to prosper in a way that doesn't compete with the big box stores, but augments them," Christopher said.
Paul Gunder, a local Realtor, talked about the impact of Wal-Mart and Lowe's when discussing his own motel and strip mall project.
"People like to cluster around Wal-Mart (with) new businesses," Gunder said.
"Competition is good when it's a couple of restaurants, couple of small businesses. I think it's all good," Willhide said.
"The commercial zoning out there is not probably sufficient for demand," Gunder said.
As such, expect to see older buildings on Pa. 16 torn down for redevelopment, he said.
"I don't see the change (in Rouzerville) being as dramatic as it has been in the last five or eight years because we won't be seeing another Wal-Mart coming in," Gunder said. "That's really a hub right there with Wal-Mart and Lowe's."
"I see it as becoming the next Frederick," Bob Backer said. "I think Rouzerville will become the mecca of Franklin County."
"Rouzerville is a destination point now," Christopher said.
The Chamber director agreed with the township manager in saying that Rouzerville's growth must not be divorced from the revitalization efforts in Waynesboro.
"I don't want to lose sight that we have work to do here," Willhide said, saying that she wants to see more tenants in the Wharf Road Industrial Park and new occupants at the soon-to-be-vacant Landis Tool Co. property.