Customers were able to visit with the Ben-Gals cheerleaders, Cincinnati Bengals mascot “Who Dey” and others, while enjoying snacks, freebies and sales specials.
“I think the reception is great. The feedback I’m getting is all positive,” Wilson said. “We want to make sure that we provide the most updated customer experience to our customers on a daily basis, and I think we’ve done that through this renovation.”
The changes were immediately noticeable to some customers, adding to the appreciation of what AAFES contributes to military service.
“It’s brighter and seems more wide open. It’s definitely easier to find things,” said Master Sgt. William Bowers, a first sergeant at the National Air and Space Intelligence Center. “AAFES has been everywhere that I’ve been, whether it’s Kandahar or back here in the states. It’s a fantastic service that we have available to us.”
April Ingram, a military spouse, only recently arrived to Wright-Patterson, and while she wasn’t here to see what the old layout was, she appreciates what the service brings.
“I think it’s great! I can come here and be more relaxed. I don’t have to worry about pushy salespeople,” Ingram said. “I’m a big clearance shopper, and they always have really good buy more, save more (deals). Every time we’ve come in, we’ve been greeted really nicely so, we’re enjoying it.”
Rose used the event to remind guests of the lengths AAFES employees go to in order to provide their service.
“Thanks to AAFES for what they do for us,” Rose said. “We’ve all been deployed a lot, and we’ve all deployed with AAFES associates that are deployed right there with us, giving us a little piece of home.”
The Exchange contributed $4.95 million from its own earnings to the project, a direct effect of Exchange shoppers, with Wright-Patterson contributing the remaining $1.45 million. Wilson said that besides building new stores and renovation, 100 percent of Exchange earnings support the military community, including quality-of-life programs such as Air Force Recreation activities.
Wright-Patterson’s main Exchange building is nearly 40-years old and was last remodeled in 2010.