MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, Ga. --
The excitement of the looming grand opening of the newly-renovated Marine Corps Exchange here is obvious when George Mettrick, retail head, Marine Corps Community Services, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, Ga., talks about it.
“Our grand re-opening is in 503 hours, not that I’m counting,” Mettrick said. “This has been like building a house. Part of it goes up quickly, now we’re doing the trim. We’re in great shape to meet our Nov. 19 date to re-open.”
As contractors worked to complete construction on the new $6.4 million MCX complex, which has been closed for eight months, MCX workers were busy completing the set-up of interior fixtures and inventory. They were assisted by retail Marines from other commands.
“This is the second reset that I’ve been involved with,” said Sgt. Roy Jones, receiving clerk, Henderson Hall, Headquarters Marine Corps. “I’ll be here for two weeks helping set up the store.”
Marines working in the retail military occupational specialty are used to assisting other facilities during the reset or construction of an exchange.
“I helped when Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island (S.C.), did their store reset,” said Sgt. Sydney Shanfield, exchange manager, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif. “For me, it’s been a case of always on the move and always on the hustle.”
Working to set up the new MCLB Albany MCX provided additional experience for one Marine who has done this type of work before.
“The MCRD Parris Island store is about twice this size,” said Sgt. Jesse Costa, exchange supervisor, Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, S.C. “Our store at the air station is smaller than this one. We’ll be resetting that store soon, so I learned a lot from this visit that I can use in the future.”
The labor provided by the Marines who assisted in the project was “invaluable,” according to Mettrick.
“This is a beautiful store and shoppers will see that it is more shoppable than the previous facility, which was built in the 1970s and remodeled in the 1990s,” he added.
The improved facility is described as state of the art from the fixtures to the products and services offered.
“We’ll have an enormous, true, gun shop, an electronics department second to none, and an expanded Grab ‘n Go fast food facility, plus other services. A customer will be able to park in either our parking lot or the commissary’s parking lot and do their grocery shopping, pick up their dry cleaning, get a haircut, gas their vehicle, shop at ‘The New “X,”’ all in one location, Mettrick explained.
The Nov. 19 grand re-opening will feature an in-store sale and thousands of items for giveaway or register to win, including a washer-dryer, a kayak and gift cards. The Kasey Kahne race car will be here along with the Miller Lite Hummer for the Nov. 19-22 event. MCX officials say patrons will see additional sale items on the day after Thanksgiving, traditionally the busiest shopping day of the holiday season.
No tax dollars were used to pay for the new facility. The money comes from non-appropriated funds, which is revenue from all MCX facilities and is collected in a construction fund assessments account, and is then allocated for new construction.
“Our MCX staff here has been through a lot to get the store rebuilt, but they’ve taken ownership. It was built with our patron’s quality of life in mind, but we take pride in our accomplishment,” Mettrick said.