By G. Anthonie Riis | Fort Knox NewsSeptember 4, 2019
The Fort Knox main Exchange is slated to undergo a redesign later this month focused on updating aesthetics, mirroring the layout of other Exchanges and better meeting customers' needs.
The updates, which will cost about $6.8 million, will mostly be to the main store, with some renovations being made in the mall and food court areas outside of the exchange.
"When I arrived here in 2017, we realized that the current 'V' layout was done as a test that wasn't rolled out to all stores. It was only used here [and one other place]," said Ellen Henderson, general manager for Army and Air Force Exchange Service on post. "We're moving back to the standard rectangular shape and grid patterns for more room and ease of shopping."
Henderson said that nothing will be done to expand the current footprint of the exchange.
"We're not updating the [outer] structure of the store. Most of the work will be aesthetic with a lot of new paint, new fixtures, new carpet and polish to the floors," she said. "We'll get more room by [taking from] the current warehouse where we'll gain about 3,000 square feet of warehouse space and make that part of the new sales floor.
"The extra room will allow us a lot more variety, and the aisles will be wider and a lot more convenient. We'll be set up like most traditional post exchanges."
Henderson said they will be expanding and relocating the firearms counter.
"We're putting in a new vault and expanding the firearms counter because firearms and sporting goods are a large category for this area," Henderson said. "[Ours] was the first firearm counter in the lower 48 states and it still has the original firearms vault."
Electronics will also get more floor space.
"Our electronics section and the PowerZone will expand to meet demand, and we'll increase the ceiling height to allow customers to see and compare all our TVs in one section instead of using three different sections," Henderson said.
Other AAFES functions will be integrated into the new footprint.
"We'll move the class six into the current furniture area. Furniture and mattresses will be in the furniture store, but the ready-to-assemble furniture and the home decor stuff, appliances and rugs will be sold in the main Exchange," she said. "Customers will be able to more conveniently shop for the things they're looking for under the same roof."
Henderson said AAFES is doing everything it can to make the transition seamless to shoppers.
"We'll work in sections so the facility will remain open the whole time with the sections being sectioned off with plastic," said Henderson. "We'll shift products to a 'flex area' so customers can still find the items they're looking for while we renovate different areas."
Construction on the Exchange is scheduled to be complete in April 2020.
"The finished product will allow us to bring in more of the brands and assortments that customers expect when they come into an Exchange today," she said. "We're not the size of [some] other installations, but we will be closer to it. We'll have that same pattern and layout to bring [the customer] the shopping experience they deserve with the latest brands they're looking for."