SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — The Navy Exchange Autoport store will expand its facility and scope of operation next year.

The expansion will be part of a three-phase construction effort beginning in 2004 involving NEX operations, which occupy five buildings spread across the Main Base facility. NEX functions are to be concentrated in three buildings, said General Manager Sandra Franklin.

The first phase is to expand from 2,100 square feet to 4,600.

“The expanded NEX Autoport will become the Mini-Mart next year,” she said.

Phase two begins in the fall of 2004. The NEX Mini-Mart convenience store, across the street from McArthur Esplanade along Juliet Basin, will be demolished. The large Butler building warehouse to the left of the store also is to be razed.

During the third phase, construction is to start on a new main store to be complete by summer 2006, Franklin said.

“The new main store will be home to the current Four Seasons operation, the NEX Warehouse, electronics and a clothing area twice the size of the one currently on the Main Base,” she said.

Autoport now is the only Main Base location for retail gasoline, diesel and kerosene sales.

Coinciding with the three phases of construction, NEX Fleet Store is to become a furniture store, uniform shop and administrative center, she said.

“The current NEX Uniform Shop will transform,” Franklin said, “becoming the barber and beauty shops, and the Japan Enhanced Network Services [JENS] location.”

The general manager said all of the changes are being made for shoppers’ convenience.

Doing the construction in three phases will make much of it “invisible to the customer,” she said. “We’re trying to make the shopper have as few inconveniences as possible.”

Franklin also said a Subway sandwich shop would open here in the spring of 2004, replacing the Robin Hood restaurant in the NEX Bayside Food Court.

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