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A group from the Sasebo, Japan Naval Base community tours the new Navy Exchange on Friday.

A group from the Sasebo, Japan Naval Base community tours the new Navy Exchange on Friday. (Greg Tyler / S&S)

A group from the Sasebo, Japan Naval Base community tours the new Navy Exchange on Friday.

A group from the Sasebo, Japan Naval Base community tours the new Navy Exchange on Friday. (Greg Tyler / S&S)

Lt. Cmdr. Lisa Braun from Sasebo Naval Base’s Navy Branch Health Clinic browses a clothing rack in the new Navy Exchange.

Lt. Cmdr. Lisa Braun from Sasebo Naval Base’s Navy Branch Health Clinic browses a clothing rack in the new Navy Exchange. (Greg Tyler / S&S)

SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — About 70 people gathered at Sasebo’s new Navy Exchange on Friday for a ribbon-cutting ceremony and a tour of the store.

Officials opened the 57,000-square-foot store despite yet having to move most of the merchandise from other locations. Nevertheless, shoes and various clothing items were in stock.

“It looks to me like it’s nearly the size of the NEX at Yokosuka,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Von Littlejohn during a tour. “It looks very nice and especially well thought out.”

The cost to Navy Exchange Command for the store is $15.7 million, said Sasebo NEX General Manager Sandra Franklin. The actual construction represents $12 million of the total.

Sasebo’s NEX operations on the main base have been fragmented among seven locations in recent years; Hario Housing Village, about 10 miles from the main facility, has three more.

“The main impression I got at today’s opening is that people are excited to come inside and see the store,” Franklin said. “I think those who’ve been here a while really appreciate that we’ve been able to build a nice facility that consolidates much of what we offer.”

Space in the main facility locations before the new store was 22,384 square feet. The new store has a sales floor of 40,000 square feet, a 78 percent increase, Franklin said. The new facility, including two floors of warehouse space, is 57,000 square feet.

“I didn’t do much shopping before at NEX here because things were located all over the place,” Littlejohn said. “But I’m looking forward to shopping on base now; you better believe it.”

The project is NEXCOM’s first major investment and construction project at a Japan base, Franklin said. Several years ago, Japan’s government decided it would no longer build facilities on U.S. bases for retail businesses, she added.

The general manager said employees would gradually move goods from other locations into the new store.

“Actually, this is phase one of the project,” she said. “Phase one merchandise will be in the new store by Jan. 15 including clothing for men, women and children, shoes, jewelry, cosmetics and electronics.”

She said phase two involves demolishing the old main store. In conjunction, merchandise from the Four Seasons store will be relocated to the new store in September.

Construction preparation began on the new store site in April.


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