Builders show moving to Waynesboro Mall

February 06, 2011|By JENNIFER FITCH |

WAYNESBORO, Pa. — When the Franklin County Builders Show comes to the Borough of Waynesboro next month, it could bring 18,000 visitors to a municipality that has a population of 9,600.

For organizers, now is the time for planning logistics, including the possibility of shuttles to transport visitors to the Waynesboro Mall. Soon they’ll turn their attention to replacing light bulbs and other renovations in the now- vacant mall spaces.

“We’re excited. We’re opening the Builders Association to a brand-new market,” said Tom Hanks, executive director of the Franklin County Builders Association.

For its 28th year, the builders show is moving to Waynesboro from Chambersburg, Pa. The show, scheduled for March 11 to 13, will be held in the Waynesboro Mall for the first time.

Last year’s show had 18,000 people in attendance over its three days, according to Hanks.

Hanks said the builders show lost its space in the old Chambersburg Lowe’s on U.S. 30, and he was searching for a new location when his accountant, Tom Scott from Rotz and Stonesifer, suggested the former Jubilee Foods in Waynesboro. A need for more room led Hanks to rent additional space a few storefronts away in the mall.

The builders show is expected to have 170 vendors featuring things like gas fireplaces, sunrooms, hot tubs, geothermal heating systems and weatherproofing techniques.

“If it’s for the home, it’s at the show,” Hanks said.

He speculated that having the builders show in Waynesboro could draw new visitors from southern Franklin County, and nearby Washington, Frederick and Adams counties.

“We know if we can get you there once, we can get you in every year,” Hanks said.

Brenda Mowen from Olde Town Touch said many of her customers are from the Fairfield, Pa., and Emmitsburg, Md., areas. Her business in the Waynesboro Mall sells home decor and window treatments.

“I was a vendor at the builders show in Chambersburg last year. ... (Now) you’ll get to see my whole showroom,” said Mowen, who is planning a special event to coordinate with the show.

Sherwin-Williams Manager Alan Gibson said the store in Waynesboro Mall will be open, and it will have a booth at the show. Like Mowen, Gibson said he was surprised to hear the builders show was moving to Waynesboro.

“It’s a nice surprise. It’ll be a nice boost for the area,” he said. “Waynesboro needs it.”

The Greater Waynesboro Chamber of Commerce and Main Street Waynesboro Inc. are trying to take advantage of the crowds expected for the show. Chamber Director Carlene Willhide said she wants to ensure people know where to find stores and restaurants.

“I hope it gives some other businesses an opportunity to get some business down the road,” she said.

Willhide said she talked to the proprietors of Days Inn and Burgundy Lane Bed & Breakfast about rate packages.

“Some of those vendors are going to need to spend a couple nights here,” she said.

Patrick Fleagle, director of economic development for Main Street Waynesboro Inc., is working with business owners to create signs showing visitors what is available in Waynesboro.

“I’m hoping Waynesboro can be a real beneficiary of having (the builders show) in town,” he told the Waynesboro Borough Council last week.

If you go ...

Franklin County Builders Show

Where: Waynesboro Mall in the former Jubilee Foods and in the space between Lightning Rent-to-Own and nail salon

When: Noon to 8 p.m. Friday, March 11; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, March 12; 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, March 13

Admission is $3 for adults or $2 with donation of a canned food for area food banks

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