‘LIKE A BRAND-NEW STORE’ -- AAFES hosts grand opening at Fort Rucker after 2 years of renovations

By Jim HughesNovember 21, 2022

The newly renovated entrance to the main store. (Photo Credit: Jim Hughes) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- The Army & Air Force Exchange Service will host a grand reopening Dec. 1 at its Fort Rucker main store to celebrate what “looks like a brand-new store,” after more than two years of renovations, according to the facility’s manager.

AAFES and post officials will cut the ribbon at 11 a.m. and then host games, drawings and other activities throughout the day, according to Brenda Hyland, AAFES general manager for Maxwell, Gunter and Fort Rucker.

“We’ll have some fun games lined up that people can do at various times – spin the wheel for some coupons and small prizes, and also a Plinko board,” she said. “It’ll be a lot of fun.”

The renovations to practically the entire building that houses the main store, the food court, the Four Seasons and various vendor shops began on Veterans Day in 2020, and while most of the work is finished, there are still a few things being worked on, Hyland said.

In addition to bringing Starbucks, Qdoba and a modern look to the food court, the renovations also included major infrastructure upgrades – including new heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems – new fixtures throughout the entire building, a new bathroom in the main store, and new flooring and improved lighting throughout, she added.

“We also added a BE FIT area, with an expanded selection of athletic shoes and athletic wear,” Hyland said.

“We’re thrilled with the results,” she added. “I think the most dramatic differences are out in the food court – it’s a night and day difference there. We were looking at some old before and after pictures, and it’s almost unrecognizable.”

The general manager said the customers are appreciating the changes, as well.

“We’re getting tons of great feedback from people saying how much they like the new look, especially people who are long-term residents of Fort Rucker,” Hyland said. “They come in and they’re like, ‘Wow! This really looks great!’”

Hyland thanked the entire team behind making the renovations a success, including the Fort Rucker community, post leadership, the Directorate of Public Works, AAFES headquarters and, of course, her team.

“My wonderful team absolutely knocked it out of the ballpark – they did an amazing job,” she said. “We have an awesome team here. I’ve always been in awe of how they work together and how cheerful, friendly and professional they all are. During the project that really came to the forefront even more.”


Even though Black Friday is before the grand opening, that isn’t going to slow down the Fort Rucker AAFES team, as Hyland said the savings, sales, specials and drawings will be going full force.

The main store will be open Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

For all the specials and sales, check out the AAFES weekly ad at https://weeklyad.shopmyexchange.com/view/1032908475/.

“We have an abridged version in print and available for pick-up right now at the main store,” Hyland said. “The full version of the flier will be online with all the offers – there are some really good specials in there, and I really encourage everyone to go check it out.

“In addition to all the great sales that we will have, we will be giving out some scratch off cards the whole weekend and there are some great prizes. Customers can get the cards Nov. 25-27, and then can come back and claim their prizes the Nov. 28-Dec. 11,” she added. “There will be two $100 exchange gift card prizes, four $50 exchange gift cards and four $25 ones, along with some great coupon offers, as well.

Hyland expects to see a big crowd at the PX’s Black Friday.

“We had a super turnout for Veterans Day, so I think Black Friday will be at least as big if not bigger,” she said.

Also on Black Friday, people can get 0% interest and no payments for 90 days on any purchase of $199 or more, Hyland added. “That’s on your total purchase -- you don’t have to buy an individual item to meet that criteria."

There will also be a $1,000 gift card sweepstakes running through the end of November, and the AAFES annual Your Holiday Bill is on Us runs through Dec. 31. Shoppers receive an entry for the sweepstakes every time they use their Military Star card. Five grand prize winners will get their Military Star accounts paid off, 10 second prize winners will receive a $1,000 account credit and 25 third place winners will get a $500 account credit.