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Super-sized AAFES BX opening at Kadena

Date Posted: 2009-10-01

New bragging rights fall to Kadena Air Base Friday, ‘Second largest Exchange in the world’, as the Army and Air Force Exchange Service opens its new Kadena Shopping Center with its massive BX, nine restaurants, an MCSS and 26 concessions.

The ribbon cutting by AAFES commanding general, Maj. Gen. Keith Thurgood, and the grand opening celebration of the 324,000 sq. ft. shopping center on Kadena Air Base, comes less than two weeks after Thurgood opened the largest AAFES shopping center in the world. The 444,000 sq. ft., $104 million facility in Kaiserslautern, and the new Kadena shopping center, dwarf AAFES’ next biggest center, the PX at Ft. Campbell, Kentucky.

The $79 million Kadena Shopping Center at Kadena will actually open in phases, according to Jeffrey C. Craven of AAFES. Phased opening of services, he says, is common for a facility of this size. While the main store hosts the grand opening October 2nd, the food court and some other concession operations will open their doors November 5th. Groundbreaking on the new shopping center began in November 2007 as a collaboration between AAFES and the Kadena Civil Engineers.

The new Kadena Shopping Center is a two-story facility with the Food Court, Concession Mall and MPA warehouse all on the first floor. The Main BX is on the second floor. “Almost all departments have doubled in size,” says Craven, “and we have an expanded assortment of sporting goods, triple in size of what the previous BX had. Also tripled in size are infants/toddlers clothing and the shoe department.”

The layout is much different than a typical BX. “The larger space has allowed us to ‘concept’ out select areas such as a Golf Shop where we have clothing combined with equipment,” says Craven. “We also have the only Swarovski store in the Pacific, designed by Swarovski Japan.” He says AAFES is able to separate clothing departments in the new BX, “to make it easier for our customers to find what they are looking for.” Even cosmetics has received a makeover, including a complete upgrade to include a ‘Beauty Bar’ with expanded lines.

Nine concepts are being housed in the Kadena Food Court. Popeye’s, Burger King, Taco Bell, Manchu Wok, Charley’s, Anthony’s Pizza, Subway, Baskin Robbins and Main Street Expresso will all be featuring the latest menu lines. The high ceiling dining area has more than 200 tables.

While most exchanges have one mall, the Kadena Shopping Center has two. The Concession Mall has 19 commodity shops, MCSS, Alterations, Book Mark, Customer Service, Optical, Optometry and a Floral Shop. About 50% of the concessionaires are new to Kadena BX.

There are 33 vendors in the Concessionaire Mall, each offering differing Grand Opening promotions, specials and give aways. Craven says “we will be hosting giveaways in the main BX every 15 minutes Friday and Saturday beginning at 10 a.m., and every 30 minutes on Sunday. Prizes range from $50 gift cards to Concession promotions and sweepstakes.”

They include China Pete’s, Rainbow Art Chinese Gifts, Print 21, Korean souvenirs, One Hour Photo, Exchange New Car Sales, SoftBank, Market Place 1 (SC International), Market Place 2 (Butt Brothers), Jewelry Store, AU, Stylique Salon, The Spa, Barber Shop, Pack & Wrap, Trophy & Engraving, Stripes-The Alteration’s Place, Asian Gifts, Japanese Gifts (Custom Tokyo), Nanpudo Okinawan Gifts, Computer Repair, Phai’s House of Jade, Optometry Care, OIC Optical Center, Hanatoki Petals & Blooms, ABC Co. Unique Gifts, DYDO, FTC (Kiosk), Face Agent (Kiosk), Bear Buddy (Kiosk), Phoenix Yaseyama (Kiosk Island), Paragon Corp, Ring (Table).

While slightly smaller than the Kaiserslautern Shopping Center, Kadena is offering unique items found only in the Pacific. “We are very fortunate to have forged great partnerships with our vendor partners,” says Craven. “At Kadena, you will find great one-time buys such as life-size terra cotta soldiers, a Swarovski Store and the one-and-only Occasions Party Super Store in AAFES.”
Parking’s no problem at the new shopping center. Once the old BX is demolished, there will be parking for more than 700 cars.

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