BX renovations unveiled

Cannon Connections photo: Clarence Plank Maj. Gen. Bruce Casella, Army and Air Force Exchange Service
commander, addresses a crowd of military spouses, airmen, retirees and officials during a ribbon cutting
ceremony Friday at the Cannon Air Force Base Exchange.

By Clarence Plank: Cannon Connections

After eleven months and $5.5 million, the Cannon Air Force Base Exchange has reopened to the Cannon Community.

The Cannon BX was given a facelift in order to meet the growing needs of airmen and their families, said Maj. Gen. Bruce Casella, Army and Air Force Exchange Service commander.

The renovated BX opened May 14.

“We did the upgrade to actually make the building bigger and changed our selection of merchandise of military goods to enhance the shopping experience here,” Cannon BX general Manager Jeff Willis said. “The response has been very positive about the merchandise and the set up of the store.”

About 20 percent of space in the stock room was given over for merchandise, stores, food shops for the growing 11,000 military personnel, family members and retirees who frequent the exchange, Casella said.

Casella said that the building has been around since the 1980s and renovations were a must. The renovations started in June 2009.

Casella said the additional 1,500 square feet provided additional room for merchandise, a General Nutrition Center store, a Subway restaurant and a Java Loft coffee shop.

AAFES employee Karen Stephens from Randolph AFB, Texas, was on hand with other employees from Texas, California and Nevada to help set up the store.

“We couldn’t get products in quick enough so we went to other bases,” Stephens said. “We went to see if we could pull their merchandise from the other bases in order to stock the floors here for customers.”

Master Sgt. Lorenzo Trotter of the 27th Special Operations Communications Squadron said one the biggest improvements was making the Cannon BX more spacious.

“I just stopped in to check the store out,” Trotter said. “A friend was telling me about the new GNC store and I wanted to go and check that out. I usually go to the GNC in town and since this one is on base, it will be closer. Because I’m here everyday, I’ll spend more here since I don’t have to go into town.”

Retired Army Pfc. Reyes Gonzales said he noticed more of a selection.

“Everything is situated a little different, it’s a lot nicer and I think it’s great,” Gonzales said. “This is the best thing they could have done to keep people coming in and having more of an opportunity for buying more stuff.”