The Army & Air Force Exchange Service hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony Monday to mark the completion of a $5.2 million renovation to the Carlisle Barracks Exchange shopping center.
“Today was the grand opening,” General Manager Valerie Bright said in a phone interview with The Sentinel. “The customers are excited about the renovation being completed. The upgrade brings a modern shopping experience.”
More than 378,000 customers in south-central Pennsylvania are eligible to shop tax-free at the newly remodeled 40,974-square-foot facility along Sumner Road on the post. They include active-duty service members, military families, retirees and service-connected disabled veterans.
“We are honored to say ‘mission complete’ on this historic upgrade,” said Amanda Hartfield, Exchange Northeast Region vice president. She said this was the first major renovation to the Carlisle Barracks Exchange since its construction in 1975.
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The overhauled center features a food court with Hunt Brothers Pizza, Chopz and Eddie Peppers quick-serve restaurants along with a Snack Avenue section offering pre-packaged foods.
Before the project, the Exchange only had a Subway restaurant, Bright said. “We figure more food concepts would satisfy the customers. That’s one thing. Upgrading the departments was another thing.”
Other improvements include new flooring and lighting; a facelift for all main store departments; new in-store BE FIT (fitness gear) and PowerZone (electronics) concept shops; a refreshed mall area with an updated barber shop, optical shop and pharmacy; and a remodeled customer service area.
Work on the renovation began in February 2020 but progress was delayed by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Construction had to be completed in phases over a period of more than two years using funds provided by the Exchange, with the post contributing $1.2 million for the remodeled pharmacy and other improvements.
“To the Exchange employees who made this possible and saw this project through to completion, thank you for your persistence and continued efforts to provide base support to our Carlisle Barracks and surrounding military communities,” Garrison Commander Lt. Col. Jeannette Molina said. “You all kept the Exchange open and ready for business for our soldiers, families and retirees, and your efforts did not go unnoticed. We truly appreciate you and can’t thank you enough.”
Hartfield, Bright and Molina participated in the ribbon cutting along with Army War College Commandant Maj. Gen. David Hill and PX Department Manager Melanie Morrison.
Barracks officials said 60% of the Exchange earnings are reinvested in quality-of-life programs that support service members and their families. The remaining 40% of earnings are reinvested towards improving the shopping experience.
Beyond the brick-and-mortar shopping privileges, nearly 142,000 honorably discharged veterans in southcentral Pennsylvania can verify their eligibility for a tax-free online shopping benefit at ShopMyExchange.com/Vets.
The Carlisle Barracks Exchange is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, call 717-243-4893.
Joseph Cress is a reporter for The Sentinel covering education and history. You can reach him at email@example.com or by calling 717-218-0022.