Big changes brewing at Myer Exchange
May 24, 2013
By Jim Dresbach
JOINT BASE MYER-HENDERSON HALL, Va. - A $4.8 million upgrade to the Fort Myer Exchange and Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Class Six Shoppette is scheduled to begin in early June with a targeted completion date scheduled for before the Thanksgiving holiday.
The construction will also relocate a number of Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall businesses and centrally place them at the McNair Road retail complex.
"We're giving it a mini-facelift, if you will. This is an image upgrade," said JBM-HH Exchange General Manager Nildy Eiley. "What we're doing and the goal with this image upgrade is primarily to complement the Henderson Hall [Exchange], so our community can be better served. The goal is not to compete; we don't compete with sister exchanges - we complement each other.
"This [construction] will impact the main store, it will impact the food court, the services and the express [the shoppette]," Eiley continued. "We're actually going to open up the store. Many nooks and crannies will be opened up when we take down some of the walls."
Starting June 3, the major remodeling project will begin at the exchange. Through the five phases of brick and mortar upgrades, the large entry wall will be removed and the ceiling will be raised in the store. "When customers walk in, they are going to feel an openness," Eiley said of one of the proposed goals. "They will be able to scan the whole store immediately. That's something you can't do right now."
Besides downed walls and shuffling departments, JBM-HH shops and stores will be physically moving to the exchange. Subway, currently located in the shoppette, will find a new home in the mall portion of the complex. The exchange is currently searching for an additional national café-type, fast food restaurant franchise to occupy additional mall space.
A Snack Avenue shop will move into the shoppette space vacated by Subway. The Snack Avenue store will offer sandwiches and healthy food choices to on-the-go shoppers. The exchange food court dining area will also be moved, as will the floral mart. The GNC nutrition store will move to the flower shop's current position.
Inside the exchange, the staff will welcome the military clothing shop, which currently is located on the northern side of the joint base between Whipple Field and Wright Gate.
"At the end, [the] military clothing store will be moved in here, which is great news for our customers," Eiley said. "This will make this more of a one-stop shop experience."
The exchange, originally built in 1980, sees daily patron foot traffic of close to 600 customers. Eiley envisions that visits will double when construction is finished and new businesses establish a foothold. As the heavy-duty work nears, the exchange general manager wanted to make it clear that the store will operate as usual.
"We will never close down during construction," she said. "I briefed the [JBM-HH] commander [Col. Fern O. Sumpter] and at the latest town hall where [Joint Force Headquarters-National Capital Region and U.S. Army Military District of Washington Commander] General [Michael] Linnington attended, we've told the community what is happening about the remodeling. The third of June is when we really ramp up on the construction, although we are already preparing now. The target date of the image upgrade is 15 November. It is going to be a short, quick upgrade."