FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii -- Improvements are being made at the Exchange, here.

Recent changes to the Fort Shafter Exchange include the addition of a Planet Smoothie as well as the expansion of items offered at its Snack Avenue, to include egg rolls, breadsticks, jalapeno chicken tornados, fresh pastries from Prairie City Bakery and Starbucks coffee.

Free Wi-Fi service will also be available at the food court.

According to Beatriz Diaz, manager, Main Exchange Store, the Exchange offers Asian cuisine, Hawaiian offerings and Hispanic foods, which really reflect the "diversity of the cultures found on Hawaii and the uniqueness of the island."

"We're truly unique and have a broader assortment of food than any other Exchange facility," Diaz said. "Many Exchanges get items only from their warehouses and vendors, but here, we also are able to get items straight from the distributor. This is one of the reasons we were able to expand our assortment."

The Exchange not only offers a few items not typically found at other Exchanges -- such as fresh pineapple, large bags of Asian rice, Hawaiian barbecue sauce, pumpkin and fruit baskets -- but also operates a deli that prepares fresh seafood and receives sushi from a local vendor, daily.

"People are sometimes amazed with the selection we have because we also offer everything from Spam musubi, a sticky rice and Spam dish, to Philly cheesesteak sandwiches," Diaz said.

The Exchange facility at Fort Shafter boasts a Domino's Pizza, a Subway, a dry cleaners, an alterations shop, a barber shop, a military clothing store and an Army Leisure Travel Services office.

"We really strive to be a one-stop shop where you can come get your uniforms altered, eat lunch and check off a few things on your shopping list in one convenient location," Diaz said.

One of the goals of the Fort Shafter Exchange's mission is to offer merchandise at competitively low prices.

"We do price surveys based off the average price of items at off-base stores, and our prices are usually comparable to, if not lower than, the competition," Diaz said.

Besides competitive pricing, the Exchange frequently offers coupons, price matching against similar merchandise at other stores and some, in-store, closeout specials of up to 40 percent off select items.

If a customer can't find a particular item at Fort Shafter, the Exchange will use its shuttle program to get the item to them, Diaz said.

"To ensure military families living and working near smaller locations enjoy the same selection as those at bigger installations, the Exchange instituted a shuttle program that can route items from one Exchange to the other," Diaz said. "Everything from large appliances to DVDs can be delivered through the shuttle program."

The most important aspect of Exchange operations for Diaz and her staff of 40 Exchange associates is giving back to Fort Shafter's military community, she said.

"This is the reason we exist, and we enjoy working for our military service members to improve their quality of life," Diaz said. "We have a close relationship with our customers here, and we have the opportunity to attend the spouses' support group meetings to get their feedback and make sure we are meeting their needs."

Page last updated Fri December 9th, 2011 at 00:00