New shoppette management employs service, merchandise upgrades
By Ross Tweten, 482nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published December 14, 2012
HOMESTEAD AIR RESERVE BASE, Fla. -- The Homestead Army and Air Force Exchange Service Express, or commonly known as the shoppette, continues to evolve, diversify, and streamline its processes as its new management looks to the future.
Mr. Michael Connell, the new Homestead Express branch manager, took over not only the Homestead Express but also the Army Southern Command Express, located in their headquarters in Doral, Fla.
Connell, who's served servicemembers and their families with AAFES for nine years, has instituted several changes to the Homestead Express, focusing on shopper needs. With new extended hours, a revamped store layout, and constant diversifying and expanding of merchandise, Homestead Express' focus is making the store as shopper friendly as possible.
"We're listening to what the troops need and tailoring our services and products to those needs," said Connell. "We're flexible and willing to work with the servicemembers to fulfill their needs. We want to focus on anything that we can bring in that will give them what they're looking for."
For servicemembers and their families, the benefits of shopping at AAFES stores are many. Not only is the merchandise offered tax free, but part of the revenue generated by AAFES sales go to supporting servicemembers and giving back to military Morale, Welfare, and Recreation programs.
"A lot of the money comes from AAFES to support MWR programs as well as important things going on right here at Homestead Air Reserve Base, like the remodel of the new fitness center," said Connell. "With AAFES, we have a purpose behind making money."
The Homestead Express is also focused on supporting the local Homestead ARB community by stepping outside their mandate by lending a hand in local events such as the recent Wings Over Homestead air show, the Halloween Haunt Fest, and the previous and future case lot sale.
"We're always willing to extend our hours, offer food options, and help out on community events in any way we can," said Connell. "We're one with the base. We want to make sure that we're committed to working together with the base on the same goals."
Connell will also be the branch manager of Homestead ARB's new Express, which will be taking the place of the current Express. Located on base and set to be completed in late 2013 or early 2014, the new Express will feature gas pumps, similar merchandise to the current Express, as well as a Snack Avenue, much like snack areas found at most other Express facilities, similar to the one at the Southern Command headquarters.
"The recent changes to our current Express strengthens our relationship with AAFES as we get closer to breaking ground on the new Express," said Ms. Alice Fields, 482nd Fighter Wing services chief. "And taking advantage of our AAFES facilities just makes sense because it's not only a timesaver, it's cost efficient."
According to Connell, he wants people to know that Homestead's Express is trying to do everything it can to provide merchandise to servicemembers and their families at affordable prices.
"That's my favorite part about working for AAFES," he said. "Supporting the troops, giving back to MWR, and making sure that the families have what they need while people are deployed; it means a lot to me."
For more information on Homestead's Express, call 305-258-3881.
The new extended hours for the Homestead Express are as follows:
Tuesday through Friday: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Holidays: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
During Unit Training Assemblies: Saturday: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.