The Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) at Fort McCoy
will be the first facility in the AAFES system to use a separate
'convertible Vendor Mall' for local businesses to sell their items on
Fort McCoy Post Exchange
personnel work to convert Main PX space to a
Vendor Mall concept to allow various local vendors to
display their products. (Photo
by Rob Schuette)
The new concept, located in building 1538, is called "The
Shoppes of Fort McCoy" and now is open for business, with an
official grand-opening date to be announced soon.
Ralph Kleemann, Fort McCoy AAFES general manager, said the
Shoppes concept will include various local businesses and be attached
to the Main Post Exchange (PX) facility, but will have its own
separate entrance/exits and hours of operation.
"These services and vendors always
have been a part of the floor plan of our current PX, but were
limited by space and poor building layout." said Kleemann.
"This new concept raises the bar of service we can provide to the
installation community by both expanding the selection of vendors we
offer and giving those vendors a true place of their own to show off
their products and services."
Irene Urata, Fort
McCoy AAFES Service Business manager, said The Shoppes area will
replace the former under-utilized Outdoor Living Section of the Main
PX store during the busy summer months.
A final decision on the use of this area in winter months has
not been made yet.
Multiple local vendors now are open for business in the Shoppes
selling imprinted clothing, books, military memorabilia, and
personalized name histories. Urata said the area has the potential to
support from six to 10 different businesses when full.
Many vendor slots already are allocated for this summer.
According to Urata, businesses interested in partnering with
AAFES and using The Shoppes area will receive free display support,
advertising, and marketing assistance to help best highlight their
products and services.
"The drive behind this is to better serve the entire Fort
McCoy community and further our local commitment to the larger Army
Family Covenant. It brings to the installation a selection of items
and services we don't or can't currently carry in the existing
PX," Urata said. "Customers get an exclusive vendor shopping
experience that brings
them more choices; including categories such as jewelry, Tupperware,
cosmetics, sun glasses, and Wisconsin
handmade crafts to name a few. "
Small business owners will want to check out the opportunities
here because it gives them a chance to develop and grow their
businesses, while keeping their overhead low, she said.
The entire installation population is welcome to take advantage
of these additional shopping opportunities and can access The Shoppes
area by either outside entrance in front of the Shoppette or PX.
"We want this new area to be a place where new products
and ideas can be found." Urata said. "We encourage our
customers to tell us what kinds of merchandize/services they would
like to see in The Shoppes, and we will work to bring those businesses
to the installation."
The initial operating hours for The Shoppes area will be from
10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. Urata
noted the businesses have agreed to stay open later if sufficient
customer traffic is there to support them.
Because some small business owners have other commitments
during the week, the selection may change on the weekends, she said.
Urata pointed out that like all other AAFES operations on Fort
McCoy, the earnings made from The Shoppes area will be returned to the
Fort McCoy community through Morale, Welfare and Recreation programs
and quality-of-life initiatives at Fort McCoy.
For more information about the new The Shoppes concept,
personnel can contact Urata at (608) 269-5585.