Major changes have been taking place at the Fort Drum Commissary, and consumers may now see the first improvements unveiled.

The store's new sales area opened this week, which includes featured sale items and a new produce department, complete with a misting system to keep loose-leaf produce wholesome. The system even offers sound effects like thunder to accompany the mist.

"Everything is bigger and better," said Robert Smith, store director. "We are going from eight feet of bagged salad to 24 feet. There is lots and lots of room for produce expansion."

The expansion project began in late September. Eventually, it will produce many additional changes, including the following:

* A new deli / bakery department will be situated where the self-checkout counters presently are located.
* The frozen food section will expand from 460 to 470 square feet.
* A customer service counter will be available for patrons.
* The dry goods section will be enlarged from 1,100 linear feet to 1,800 linear feet.

The overall project, which will increase the size of the commissary from 26,000 square feet to about 48,000 square feet, is expected to be complete by next summer.

"We hope people will walk in and see that it's so much more open and full of life, with nice colors and dAfAcor, and overall, a nice place to shop," said Corey Brunsvold, who manages and oversees the construction process.

"It's all about the quality of life," Smith said. "We want this store to be the store of choice for the Families of Fort Drum - to be able to meet their needs and provide them with the products they want when they shop."

Smith said they will keep the commissary web page updated with floor plan details. To access it, go to, and click on the links to get to Fort Drum's information.