NAS Whiting Field NEX Celebrates its Grand Reopening

Published on July 26, 2013 with No Comments

 

The NAS Whiting Field Navy Exchange celebrated its grand reopening on July 10th.

After more than two years of renovation planning and four months of construction, the NEX celebrated with cake, free hot dogs, giveaways and opportunities to register to win various items, including NEX gift cards, haircuts, Subway sandwiches, and even household appliances.  Additionally, the NEX hosted its first ever tent sale, which featured 30-75% off discounts on a variety of NEX products, from backpacks to electronics to linens and kitchenware.  

The celebrations featured a series of remarks from Stephen Knowles, the Vice President of the Mid-South district; Steven Rosenstein, the District Operations Manager; Linda Larrabee, the Whiting Field General Manager; and NAS Whiting Field Executive Officer Cmdr. Greggory Gray during a ribbon cutting, which was followed by a cake cutting and an invitation for all patrons to take advantage of special discounts throughout the entire store. During the ribbon cutting ceremony, Cmdr. Gray thanked district vendors, the Navy Exchange Service Command (NEXCOM) vision team, and the NASWF team for their hard work on this project, especially in their efforts in staying ahead of the game in order to keep the store open throughout renovations.

The renovation started about two years ago once NEX management received approval from NEXCOM to go ahead with their proposals to redesign the store based on changing customer needs.  The day after Christmas, NEX workers began emptying the minimart adjacent to the main NEX to make room for the first phases of renovation.  The total renovation was completed in a series of ten stages and took approximately four months.  The store remained open throughout all stages of renovation.

Explained Larrabbee, “now we feel we are able to give the Whiting Field customer a much more enjoyable experience, which is certainly what they deserve.”

Improvements are visible from the floor to ceiling of the new space, and include all new all new fixtures, floors, lighting, and paint, as well as a change in the store layout and set up.  The store now features wider aisles, a design point incorporated to ameliorate customers’ shopping experience.  All of these changes add up to a vastly improved NEX.

Larrabbe affirmed that the upgrade was sorely needed, as the building previously featured décor harking back to the late 80s/early 90s.  “It’s like Christmas in July!” she exclaimed.  “I’m just so proud to be able to offer this kind of environment for our customers to shop in.”

In addition to the main NEX building, the barber shop also received an upgrade, and Subway will also be doing some refreshing and remodeling within the next 30 days.

In addition to permanent material improvements, the remodel gave the NEX a chance to better realign merchandise with the needs of the Whiting Field customer and offered an opportunity for the NEX to evaluate sales, leading them to eliminate or downsize lesser sellers to make room for higher demand items.

One of the biggest changes in merchandise is that the NEX cut back on carrying softlines in favor of an active duty section.  The new initiative is focused on “making a better you, and driving fitness through power bars, active wear, athletic shoes, and supplements so that we’re making the 21st century sailor as fit and ready as possible,” said Larrabbe.

Another significant change is that the NEX eliminated grocery foods as the commissary next door covers most of those needs.  However, in light of the reduced commissary hours, the NEX will be stocking milk, bread, and other food staples to best provide for their customers.

Another significant aspect of the renovation was the restoration of the package store to its original location next to the main NEX.  Larrabbee stated that they realized customers preferred one-stop shopping, and that they were dealing with higher running expenses when operating two freestanding businesses.

The package store’s new location is equal in space to the free-standing store.  Customers will notice that the layout now separates wine and liquor from beer and soda.

Overall, beamed Larrabbee, “the shopping experience is far, far improved.”

Fleet and Family services will be moving offices into the space previously occupied by the package store.

One of 300 stores worldwide, the NAS Whiting NEX is distinguishing itself as an example of the NEX’s new branding strategy. In a district that extends from Panama City to Kingsville, TX to Tennessee, the Whiting Field NEX was selected as the first store in the Mid-South district to undergo this type of renovation in keeping with the NEXs new branding system.

“It’s a big deal for us, this is the store that we’ll use as the example for the rest of our stores,” stated Knowles.  He noted that the Panama City NEX will be the next location in the district to undergo remodeling.

The grand reopening was also a chance for the NEX to highlight many discounts and savings opportunities available to customers at the NEX.  The military star card program, which features special promotions throughout the whole year, is offering special no-interest deals on certain purchases of electronics.  Additionally, customers who apply for a Military Star Card receive an extra 10% off their first day’s purchases.

The NEX also offers price matching for any item they stock and will match competitors prices, including discounts found online.

Sales fliers are available at the store and on mynavyexchange.com.

Larrabee acknowledged that while the Whiting Field NEX does stock a variety of products, the Pensacola NEX sometimes carries products that the Whiting Field NEX doesn’t keep in stock, and it can be a hassle to drive there to pick something up.  The solution to that, she stated, is that the Whiting Field NEX can get the product for you.

“If there’s something a customer knows that the Pensacola NEX has that we don’t carry, we can usually get it for them,” explained Larrabbe.  Whiting Field NEX sends couriers weekly to the Pensacola NEX, so all Whiting Field customers need to do is ask at the customer service desk.  Trips are usually made on Tuesdays, and patrons will receive a phone call once their product is available for pickup at the Whiting Field NEX.

Larrabee acknowledged that some customers may wonder how the NEX can afford these renovations during a time when so many government-affiliated programs are struggling with their budgets.  She explained that the NEX exists only on profit, and used these profits to pay for this renovation, not tax payer dollars.  Larrabbee stated that the NEX is proud to serve as a “bright light in a gloomy economy,” and use their resources to best serve their patrons.

The biggest thing, noted Larrabbee, are the discounts that the NEX is able to offer. “Customers love a good deal, and man are they gonna get a good deal, that’s the important thing,” she beamed.

The Whiting Field NEX is currently open from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays, from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays, and 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturdays.  The store is closed on Sundays.

 

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