By Mr. Nathan T Van Schaik (IMCOM)April 24, 2014
SCHWEINFURT, Germany (April 24, 2014) -- The Army and Air Force Exchange Service's Main Exchange at Ledward Barracks officially closes June 15 but will relocate basic commodities like soap and undergarments to its shoppette at Conn Barracks.
Garrison officials are on track to close the garrison here by September 2014, and have prompted AAFES to prepare the PX building for turnover by then. The decision at AAFES higher headquarters to close Schweinfurt's PX down in June was driven largely by the need to stick to that timeline.
"We want to shut down, turn over and clean up by the end of July," said store manager Diana Norton, who took over last summer. With 36 years of AAFES experience, Norton worked and helped close the Wurzburg shoppette before coming to Schweinfurt.
But AAFES will continue to provide basic merchandise and services to its customers at the Conn Shoppette. AAFES will consolidate necessities such as toiletries, detergents, medicines and basic clothing items. Fashion clothing and large electronic equipment such as big screen televisions, however, will be discontinued.
Coupled with the impending garrison closure, a decreasing population has also affected the decision to close.
In the past year the total population has shrunk from about 3,000 Soldiers and Family members to about 2,300. By June, that number will decrease to about 1,000, according to numbers released from the garrison's closure team.
Total AAFES sales at the PX have decreased by about 90 percent in the past year, said Norton. Currently, the PX receives on average 150 customers a day and by June that number could dip to as low as 65 a day.
"If you want something, just come and ask us," Norton said. "If another European AAFES Exchange stocks it, we'll be able to get it. Don't hesitate to ask."
If you and your family will be around through the summer of 2014, here are some things to consider:
1. The PX at Ledward Barracks closes June 15. The PX will remain open seven days a week, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. until then.
2. AAFES will beef up the Conn Shoppette with essential merchandise from its main store at Ledward. The Conn Shoppette is being modeled after the one in Bamberg. The PX at USAG Bamberg already closed shop and consolidated necessities to its Shoppette last month.
3. If you can't find what you're looking for, let AAFES bring it to you. AAFES will continue running its shuttle program at the Conn Shoppette beyond June 15. The shuttle program allows store managers, upon customer request, to route merchandise from one PX to another. Just ask a store representative if it can be brought in from another location.
4. The June 15 closure of the PX will coincide with the closure of the New Car Sales on the same day. New Car Sales is located in front of the PX.
5. Need household items until you PCS? The garrison's Lending Closet will remain open beyond June 15. Here, you can borrow household items like kitchen utensils and dishes, microwaves and baby accessories. Simply bring a copy of your orders to ACS, which operates the Lending Closet, in Bldg. 242 at Ledward Barracks. To learn more, call 09721-96-6933/7060 or DSN 354-6933/7060.
6. What about home improvement and outdoor equipment? The Self-Help Issue Point, or SHIP, located near the Directorate of Public Works compound, offers do-it-yourself supplies. But take note: the SHIP closes July 1.
7. The commissary located at Askren Manor will remain open through August, according to the garrison's closure team.
8. Off-post department and clothing stores remain a viable option. But avoid paying Germany's 19 percent value added tax. Most off-post department stores accept VAT forms. Pick up a VAT form at the tax relief office located in Bldg. 40 at Conn Barracks.
9. The closest AAFES PXs outside of Schweinfurt are located at USAGs Ansbach and Grafenwoehr. For area locations and GPS directions, visit the AAFES store locator.
10. When shopping off post, make sure you have cash. Many German stores don't accept American credit cards. You can withdrawal euros at ATMs on-post. ATMs are located at the commissary at Askren Manor, near the PX at Ledward Barracks and at the Shoppette and adjacent the Kessler Fitness Center at Conn Barracks.