FAIRBORN, Ohio (WDTN) – A multi-million dollar facelift is changing the way military families shop at Wright Patterson Air Force Base.
Thursday, WPAFB unveiled its upgraded Exchange, the Army and Air Force retailer selling discounted, tax-free merchandise to service members and their families.
“It’s just been such a big upgrade from what we had previously, so we think this is going to be a great shopping experience for our customers,” said Jermaine Wilson, the store’s general manager.
The $6.4 million project is the first major update to the Exchange since 2010. It took about one year to replace the floors, light fixtures, wall murals and cash registers in the 72,000 square foot building. The facelift also modernized displays and signage.
“We want to make sure we stay relevant for our customers,” said Ronny Rexrode, the Central Region Vice President for AAFES. “We want to make sure they are provided those services, retail services, food and so forth on a military base so we can give them the best options while being here.”
WPAFB provided $1.45 million for exterior improvements and the Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) covered the remaining $4.95 million from sales revenue.
Over the past decade, AAFES earnings provided $2.4 billion in dividends to support military morale, welfare and recreation programs.
The WPAFB Exchange serves more than 100,000 Airmen, retirees and their families living within 100 miles of Wright-Patterson, including about 17,000 active duty service members.
Managers said they strive to make shopping one less thing stressor for those serving the country.
“They’re on the frontlines, they go on the battle fields, they’re why we’re here everyday, why we’re free,” said Wilson. “So we want to take care of our customers every single day.”