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Telly Hooks, an Army and Air Force Exchange Service sales associate, stocks DVD players at the Würzburg, Germany, main store. AAFES has completed a $3.7 million renovation and construction upgrade in four communities, including Würzburg.

Telly Hooks, an Army and Air Force Exchange Service sales associate, stocks DVD players at the Würzburg, Germany, main store. AAFES has completed a $3.7 million renovation and construction upgrade in four communities, including Würzburg. (Photo courtesy of AAFES)

WüRZBURG, Germany — While 1st Infantry Division troops were busting their humps in Iraq, AAFES officials were busy back at the ranch.

Army and Air Force Exchange Service officials from the Würzburg Consolidated Exchange area used the 1st ID’s yearlong deployment to complete a $3.7 million renovation and construction upgrade in four communities.

“We wanted to make it a welcome-home surprise,” said Stan McGhee the consolidated exchange’s general manager. “We looked at our options and saw the long-term status with the troops deployed as the best time to do renovation work.”

The Würzburg Consolidated Exchange mainly covers the 98th Area Support Group within the Würzburg, Kitzingen, Schweinfurt and Bamberg military communities.

Among the improvements:

Würzburg — Opened The Cleaners dry cleaning service; expanded the day spa; expanded Internet cafe; opened computer repair shop; and opened an Italian pasta bar and cafe in the Bookmark.Kitzingen — Renovations at Bookmark, care car center, retail store, shoppette and laundromat. A dry cleaning service, day spa and Pizza Hut were added.Schweinfurt — Renovations to the post exchange, the small exchange called the PXtra, Military Clothing Sales Stores and alteration shop. Opened Subway sandwich shop, a shoe store, and a key-and-engraving store.Bamberg — Renovations to post exchange, PXtra, shoppette, car care center, and two laundromat. Opened Subway sandwich shop. Work is under way at the food court, Bookmark and day spa.Cell phone prepaid cards also can now be purchased in AAFES stores throughout the community, not just at the onpost telephone office, according to Robert Koch, the Würzburg Consolidated Exchange retail business manager.

“This is a big one for the soldiers. It really cuts down on waiting time,” Koch said. “Sometimes there was so much business at the TKS office that troops had to wait in line for a while. One guy would be getting a new phone set up, while 10 people were waiting behind him who just wanted a phone card.”

Once the troops came home, AAFES said it “brought in the cavalry” to handle the increased sales volume. Over a 45-day period beginning in mid-February, AAFES brought in 30 employees from throughout Europe and the Balkans to give family members who worked for AAFES some time off with their newly returned soldiers.

The replacements worked up to five weeks in the Würzburg area, AAFES officials said.

Also, AAFES transferred merchandise from all around Europe to the Würzburg area to meet the demands of the 13,500 returned troops.

“Sales are up 50 percent. It’s better than Christmas,” said McGhee. “The last two months we were the No. 1 main store in sales in the world.”

Now, AAFES is preparing to spoil the troops one last time during the 1st ID welcome-home ceremony May 16.

From May 16 until May 22, AAFES will have storewide sales culminating in a raffle to give away a new car.

Troops should sign up for the raffle now at any of the Würzburg area stores and attend the giveaway May 21 at 1 p.m. at the Leighton Barracks post exchange.


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