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With the opening of the post exchange at Grafenwöhr, Germany, sometime next year, AAFES is looking to fill more than 1,000 jobs at three massive new shopping centers in the near future.

With the opening of the post exchange at Grafenwöhr, Germany, sometime next year, AAFES is looking to fill more than 1,000 jobs at three massive new shopping centers in the near future. (Seth Robson / S&S)

GRAFENWÖHR, Germany — The Army and Air Force Exchange Service is looking to fill more than 1,000 jobs at three massive new shopping centers opening at Grafenwöhr, Stuttgart and Ramstein next year.

Grafenwöhr Consolidated Exchange manager Matt Mennona said more than 300 jobs are available at Grafenwöhr starting in April in anticipation of the expected opening of a new post exchange in August. On top of that, 15 to 25 more people are needed to staff a shoppette and gas station that are part of the PX project, he said.

AAFES is already taking applications for the Grafenwöhr jobs and is also looking for staff to fill positions at other facilities where there is a high turnover of staff, he said.

“It’s anything from food service workers to warehouse workers, supervisory positions, sales associates and cashiers,” he said.

The new positions include full-time, part-time and “lifestyle” jobs that involve about 20 hours of work each week, Mennona said. The employees will be a mixture of Americans and Germans, but preference will be given to sponsored dependents.

“We have a lot of spouses who are just interested in working a few hours a day,” he added.

AAFES spokeswoman Debbie Byerly said a new Ramstein shopping complex, which will be AAFES’ largest overseas shopping center in the world when it opens early next year, will employ about 700 people.

And a new post exchange, similar in size to the Grafenwöhr project, at Panzer Kaserne in Stuttgart will employ several hundred workers when it opens in February.

AAFES employees at facilities that are downsizing in other parts of Europe will be offered work at the new shopping centers, Byerly said.

Würzburg PX human resources manager Adam Selsemeyer said there were about 300 employees at the Würzburg Mega Mall last year, but that number has dropped since the 1st Infantry Division returned to the U.S. earlier this year.

Selsemeyer said there will be more job cuts at Würzburg as the base downsizes but that employees will be offered jobs at Grafenwöhr and other expanding shopping malls.

Amanda Walin, 24, who recently arrived at Grafenwöhr with her husband, 2nd Cavalry Regiment soldier Sgt. John Walin, said she was excited about the new PX.

Amanda Walin said she got a job at the Grafenwöhr credit union last month, but that she expected other spouses to jump at the chance for employment.

“At the PX, when you transfer somewhere else, they will integrate you into their system,” she added.

Megan Snyder, another 2nd Cav spouse who recently moved to Grafenwöhr with her husband, Capt. Mathew Snyder, said on-post jobs are always popular with dependents.

“The nice thing about working on post, if you live on post, is you don’t have to worry about traveling far when the weather gets bad and you get to see things on sale. And the hours are not long, so spouses get home at a reasonable hour when (their) soldiers are around,” she said.

What's on the horizon ...

Here are some of the features the new shopping centers will offer:

¶ Grafenwöhr’s $29.5 million mall will have two cell phone shops; an optical shop; a beauty parlor/barber; an online gaming parlor; a food court including Popeyes, Charlie’s, Taco Bell, Baskin-Robbins and Subway; a commissary with 27,000 square feet of sales space; a PXtra (sporting goods); a Toyland store built into the complex; and a 12-pump gas station and a car park with space for almost 1,000 vehicles.

¶ Ramstein’s $200 million Kaiserslautern Military Community Center is a 844,000-square-foot complex that will include a two-story climbing wall; a 350-room hotel; a sports bar; a food court; four movie theaters; a car dealership; dozens of local vendors; and 2,800 parking spaces.

¶ Stuttgart’s $29 million, 140,000-square-foot shopping center at Panzer Kaserne will include Popeyes; Anthony’s Pizza; Charlie’s Steakery; concessionaires; to hire for at least 1,000 new jobs and 640 parking spaces.

author picture
Seth Robson is a Tokyo-based reporter who has been with Stars and Stripes since 2003. He has been stationed in Japan, South Korea and Germany, with frequent assignments to Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti, Australia and the Philippines.
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