Ben Volkman, a hard lines (nontextiles) manager at the Vilseck, Germany, post exchange, with a model of the Grafenwöhr post exchange, due to open next summer.

Ben Volkman, a hard lines (nontextiles) manager at the Vilseck, Germany, post exchange, with a model of the Grafenwöhr post exchange, due to open next summer. (Seth Robson / S&S)

GRAFENWÖHR, Germany — Wireless Internet, Starbucks coffee, a health spa and “retailtainment” are a few of the many attractions planned for a new on-post shopping complex due to open here next summer, the Army and Air Force Exchange Service says.

AAFES is still negotiating with businesses over space in the $29.5 million mall — rapidly growing in the middle of Grafenwöhr’s main post — but several key components of the facility have been decided, Grafenwöhr consolidated exchange manager Matt Mennona said Wednesday.

“A mezzanine floor above the food court will feature a coffee shop selling Starbucks coffee. And there will be Wi-Fi (wireless) Internet,” he said.

AAFES is also planning “retailtainment” that could include anything from musicians to car shows every weekend to draw in shoppers, Mennona said.

“We are looking at a day spa where you can go for manicures, pedicures and massages,” he added.

Is this what a soldier wants after a hard day’s training?

“I’m sure the ladies will be the ones who take advantage of that. I don’t know how many guys go for massages,” Mennona said.

The mall will feature two competing cell phone shops, an optician, a beauty parlor/barber, an online gaming parlor and a food court including Popeyes, Charlie’s, Taco Bell, Baskin-Robbins and Subway, he said.

There will be a commissary with 27,000 square feet of sales space, PXtra (sporting goods) and a Toyland store built into the complex as well as a 12-pump gas station and a car park with space for almost 1,000 vehicles, he said.

AAFES is negotiating with several German businesses that might take space in the complex, including Nachtman Crystal and Bazooka, a chain of stores that sells snowboards, skateboards and street wear, he said.

“These things are still a work in progress. As we get closer, we will have more people who want to come in and we will try to get the best in there,” Mennona said.

The centerpiece of the mall will be the post exchange with 130,000 square feet of floor space — about three times the size of the Vilseck post exchange, he said.

The post echange will carry such lines as Estée Lauder and Clinique, which are not available at Vilseck, and there will be more branded merchandise from manufacturers such as Columbia and Jack Wolfskin, he said.

“It will become the shopping hub for Grafenwöhr, Vilseck and Hohenfels. We anticipate people traveling from as far away as Hanau to take advantage of the all-in-one shopping,” he said.

The shopping complex is due to open in summer 2007, Mennona said.

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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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