The Combined Exchange on Robinson Barracks is being transformed into two separate stores: a commissary run by Defense Commissary Agency and a furniture store run by Army and Air Force Exchange Service.
The former CX — a combined furniture store, exchange and commissary all operated by AAFES — has been in operation since April 1993. The commissary portion of the CX will close May 1-16 for renovations and re-open as a stand-alone commissary.
As of May 17, both the commissary and furniture store will be open Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Both stores will be closed on Monday.
“People who are used to shopping in here will come in … and they won’t recognize it,” said Wade Broomfield, RB commissary manager.
New shelves, a brand new assortment of stock and a new store decoration package will be installed in the commissary. There will also be new lighting, wider aisles and new registers consistent with those at the Patch Commissary, he added.
Not only will the store look different, but the commissary will offer a much larger variety of products: 7,800 items, compared to 1,500 offered at the CX, Broomfield said.
“My idea is to make it to where folks who live out here don’t have to go to Patch … . This can be their one-stop commissary,” he said.
A self-serve bakery will provide bread and fresh pastries. DeCA also hopes to install a deli in the future, according to DeCA Public Affairs Officer Leslie Brown.
Sarah Michel, a Navy spouse living on Robinson Barracks, said she is looking forward to finding everything on her shopping list at RB.
“It will be nice knowing you can go there and nine out of 10 times they’re going to have what you’re looking for,” she said. “We’re pretty excited about it.”
If customers don’t see a product they want, they can use the special order program, Broomfield said.
The AAFES furniture store will be located next to the commissary and have its own entrance. The store will be renovated with new carpeting, flooring and a complete store reset, according to Frank Niccoll, general manager for the U.S. European Command Consolidated Exchange.
The stand-alone furniture store will open May 2. Through May 15 the store is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The store will be closed on May 16, and on May 17, will match the commissary’s operating hours, Niccoll added.
Based on the smaller space, the store will offer a refined assortment of bedroom and living room sets, dining areas, mattresses, lamps and rugs.
But patrons will be able to request furniture from other regional AAFES furniture stores through a merchandise shuttle program.
The AAFES store will continue to provide a limited selection of wines and spirits, a small stationary and greeting card section, and a Box Office Video rental area. All other AAFES products formerly sold at the CX, such as toys and automobile needs, will be available at the main exchange on Panzer Kaserne.
The new layout provides RB with unique sales opportunities, according to Niccoll. For example, if the commissary has a summer case lot sale, the AAFES store might display a selection of grills.
“Because of our location, we’ll be able to partner up on many events,” he said.
Other AAFES projects
The “Kebab, Chicken and More” mobile vendor’s hours of operation on RB will decrease as of May 7. New hours will be Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The Patch Food Court, a joint garrison and AAFES project, is scheduled to open in July. The food court will house Burger King, Taco Bell and Subway restaurants, and a Sehne bakery.
“We’re looking forward to that. We’ve been closed way too long,” Niccoll said.
Once the project is complete, the mobile Burger King and outdoor grill located outside the Patch theater will cease operation. The movie theater will only sell Anthony’s Pizza in the evening.
AAFES plans to hire a new grill concessionaire for the American Eatery on Patch Barracks by early June.
Once the permanent food installations on Patch are completed, mobile vendors will sell only on selected days of the week, Niccoll said.
At the Panzer Mall, the Brandz concessionaire will be replaced with a Fila sports store this spring. In May, the Apriori women’s fashion store will be replaced with a Recon store, offering military-style clothing and accessories.