Retiree Council tours largest AAFES facility in contential U.S.
February 28, 2013
The Fort Belvoir Retiree Council took its first look at the new Post Exchange, Feb. 21, to see the new shops and services the facility will offer.
The new facility will open in June, and will house every retail store on post including Military Clothing and Sales, the Home and Garden Center store and Gun Shop. The Customer Service Center will be in the new Exchange as well.
The one-stop shop opportunity the new Exchange will provide will be an asset to the installation, according to Jerry Musara, Retiree Council president.
"People today are concerned about one-stop shopping and that's what this facility will provide," said Musara. "It's there to support a military population and their Family members, which is nice."
Other new additions to the Exchange include a Starbucks, Pizza Hut and Popeye's Chicken, plus a Things Remembered gift store. The military pharmacy will also be located in the new facility, just like it is in the old Exchange.
Current shops already at the Exchange will remain the same. The barber shop, beauty shop, optical shop, GNC and the stores in the food court will move over to the new Exchange.
"There's a lot of space inside and it's obvious a lot of thought went into the design of the building," said John Hurley, retired Air Force brigadier general and Retiree Council member. "It will be a real asset to the Fort Belvoir Community."
The Retiree Council expressed an interest recently in seeing the new facility. AAFES staff members were happy to take them on a tour, according to Tonja M. Norris, Fort Belvoir Exchange Sales and Merchandise Manager, since retirees make up most of the stores clientele.
"They're going to be 80 percent of our shoppers," Norris said. "So, it's good they're interested."
The new Exchange, which is 270,000 square feet, will be the largest in (the continental U.S.) and will offer hundreds of new employment opportunities for children and adults on post."
A new commissary will be built on the lot where the current Exchange is located, once the new facility opens.
Having such a large facility with every retail store in it should improve morale and sales on the installation, according to Norris.
"Now we don't have to tell them to go to the other side of post when they want furniture or home appliances," said Norris. "The Commissary being in the old Exchange building will be nice too, because now it will be walking distance."
More job opportunities will be available to spouses, Family members and Department of Defense civilians at the new Exchange, from custodial work to management positions.
AAFES has already started hiring for temporary and full-time positions at the new Exchange, and will open 50-100 more positions between now and April.
"You have to be 16 or older to be eligible to apply for jobs," said Norris. "Other than a background check, that is the only eligibility requirement."
To apply for openings at the new facility, go to www.applymyexchange.com.