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Petty Officer 3rd Class Antisuan Ponder is the first sailor to buy items from the new Navy Exchange mini-mart in Gaeta, Italy, which opened Monday.
Petty Officer 3rd Class Antisuan Ponder is the first sailor to buy items from the new Navy Exchange mini-mart in Gaeta, Italy, which opened Monday. (Courtesy of Lisa Julian/MWR Gaeta)

The Navy Exchange’s newly opened mini-mart at Fleet Landing in Gaeta, Italy, will offer a wide range of services for customers, putting to rest fears that they might have to travel more than an hour to the Navy base in Naples to take care of some errands.

The store, in Building 752 on the Fleet Landing at the pier, will continue to offer customer services such as the selling of fuel coupons, check cashing, euro conversion and a venue for customers of Enel and Telecom Italia to pay their electric and phone bills, according to Petty Officer 2nd Class Shaun Knittel, Naval Support Activity Naples’ assistant public affairs officer.

The U.S. Navy has been downsizing its presence in Gaeta, and some who still live there had feared that the base or exchange would not be able to provide those services on a full-time basis.

The 395-square-foot mini-mart sells convenient-store items, including laundry detergent, toiletries, basic food items and snacks, sodas and beer. Hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, closed weekends and all U.S. holidays.

The store’s primary purpose is to provide services for the roughly 300 sailors and civilian mariners of the Military Sealift Command assigned to the USS Mount Whitney, the Navy’s 6th Fleet flagship, home ported in Gaeta.

"We are very pleased to be able to continue offering NEX services to the Gaeta community at this new location," Christina Giordano, NEX general manager, said in a statement. She said workers "turned four walls into a retail store" for local customers.

As part of the shifting and decreasing of services in Gaeta, activities such as registering a car, counseling or shipping household goods have been limited to a few times a week, with personnel traveling from Naples to Gaeta on scheduled days. The elementary school closed at the end of the school year in June.

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