(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. — Fort Leonard Wood Army and Air Force Exchange Service officials are constantly working to improve the shopping and entertainment experiences available here for service members, their families and military retirees and veterans with service-connected disabilities.

According to Donald Cantwell, general manager of the Fort Leonard Wood Exchange, customers here can expect to see many facilities and service upgrades in the near future, in addition to improvements already completed so far this year.

“The Fort Leonard Wood Exchange team is very excited about our upgrades to facilities and our new services as they allow us to provide the community with great customer service,” Cantwell said.

Below are some of the improvements either already here or on the way in the coming months.

Main Exchange

Customers at Fort Leonard Wood’s Main Exchange shopping complex, located at 143 Replacement Ave., now have some new dining options in the food court, including Panda Express — which opened in June — and Tater Patch — which opened in October.

Cantwell said Ichiban Hibachi — which provides a Japanese-style steakhouse environment — is slated to open in the food court in early 2023.

“Currently, we are also working on adding Smoothie King in the Main Exchange food court,” he said. “Our goal is to provide our customers with a wide variety of dining options, to include food trucks.”

Cantwell also noted AAFES is always looking for new vendors in on-post facilities. Businesses interested in expanding on the post should call 573.842.8565.

Besides new dining options, Cantwell said the Main Exchange Barber Shop will get a renovation.

“This renovation will include new barber fixtures and customer seating,” he said. “It will bring the shop in line with the newest Exchange barber standards.”

The location will close for a week starting on Dec. 17, Cantwell said, and customers are encouraged to visit the barber shops located at Bldgs. 1026 and 1711 during that time. Each location will have expanded hours while the Main Exchange location is closed (9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Dec. 15 through 18, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 19 through 21). The Main Exchange location is scheduled to reopen on Dec. 22.

The Main Exchange also now offers an electronics trade-in program, Cantwell said. This includes items such as old phones, gaming systems and tablets.

“When a customer decides they want to trade in the item, and the item has been selected, they are provided an estimate and then given an Exchange credit that can be used at Exchange facilities,” he said. “Limitations vary on items, but the main requirement is that any item to be traded in requires a visible serial number.”

North Express

The North Express, located at 2624 Missouri Ave., is open from 4 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays, and 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekends. In addition to offering fuel and convenience goods, the North Express includes Dunkin’ Donuts (open from 5 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays, and 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekends), Firestone Complete Auto Care (open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays, and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays) and a Redbox DVD rental kiosk (available 24/7).

Cantwell said the North Express is also now offering Door Dash service — an online ordering and delivery platform.

“This was a concept tested at other installations based on customer feedback and then rolled out to additional facilities,” he said. “This is a great convenience for customers, allowing them another option for shopping our Express store from the convenience of their home, office or lodging.”

South Express

The South Express, located at 7068 Nebraska Ave., is open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays, and 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekends. In addition to offering fuel and convenience goods, the South Express includes Slim Chickens (open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily) and Kwik Kar Wash Express (open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays).

Cantwell said the entire facility is getting a complete remodel, with external work now underway and internal work slated to begin Dec. 26 — some services may be limited at times due to the large scope of the project. The work is estimated to be finished within 90 days.

“This will include a complete remodel of the entire facility, to include upgrades to the hot-food offerings — all new fixturing, coolers, checkouts and flooring are included,” he said. “Additionally, we will be adding a Hunt Brothers Pizza concept in the store.”

Military Clothing Store

Fort Leonard Wood’s Military Clothing Store, located inside the Mini Mall, at 14145 North Dakota Ave., is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekends.

Cantwell said the store will be getting a complete remodel, to include new fixtures, flooring and registers.

“Also included will be graphics packages for the store and the mall area by clothing sales, with updated Army images, including Fort Leonard Wood specific,” he said.

Cantwell added there should not be any major service disruptions while the work is completed.

Abrams Theater

After a closure for renovations that was delayed by the pandemic, the multi-purpose Abrams Theater re-opened in April as a fully functioning movie theater operated by AAFES on weekends.

Cantwell said the re-opening has been a great success.

“The building renovations — and the addition of digital-projection capabilities — have greatly improved the customer experience and allows the Exchange to offer not only first-run movies, but special showings and theme selections,” he said.

Since re-opening, Cantwell said two free distributor showings and more than 15 first-run showings — released at the same time as off-post theaters — have been scheduled. More information on pricing and upcoming film showings are available on the Exchange website.

Double Time Coffee Company

Double Time Coffee Company is now open from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays at Forney Airfield. Cantwell said making this option available for customers at the airfield was “something we have been working for some time based on customer requests.”

The business is mobile, Cantwell added, so it can be available at other locations as needed.

“They were able to come to the Main Exchange for Black Friday and serve customers,” he said.

Updated information on the mobile coffee company can be found here.