The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

BX readies for renovations


June 18, 2009

CANNON AIR FORCE BASE — A facelift at the Base Exchange begins Saturday as the Army and Air Force Exchange Service begins a four-phase project to improve its offerings to its customers.

According to Jeff Willis, the BX manager, the BX will maximize its available space and expand to include a new sandwich shop, a gift shop that will offer flower arrangements and other vendors, as well. Also, the furniture store will relocate to the main shopping area, which will make room for additional vendors.

“The renovations will be done in four phases and we will remain open to serve our customers,” said Willis. “The projected date for completion is Feb. 27, 2010.”

He said that the BX here is considered a “small remote facility,” but with the growth of the 27th Special Operations Wing, that could change.

“Although the decision is not mine to make, I foresee the distinct possibility of getting a new BX here in the next five years,” said Willis. “I know they (AAFES headquarters management) are looking at the growth that is going on here.”

The eight-month renovation will be done incrementally to reduce the impact on shoppers.

He said that currently there are 85 AAFES employees at Cannon, and the exchange has always been a good source for employment for military spouses.

“Right now we have several positions available, and anybody interested can apply online at,” said Willis.

A better selection means more revenue, which adds up to more money for Cannon. A poster on the BX wall at the entrance announces that $390,477 was delivered from the BX to base services such as the Child Development Center, the base library and the Family Support Center here.

“The more the military community supports the BX, the greater the amount of money that is returned to it,” said Willis.

The money that is provided to base services and the fact that purchases are tax free are just two of the reasons the BX is a bargain for the military.

With a base military population that has increased by nearly a thousand since October,

Mary Foster, a vendor at the BX, said foot traffic in the BX has picked up.

“We’re seeing more shoppers as people continue to arrive to Cannon,” said Foster, the wife of Chief Master Sgt. Brian Foster, 27th Special Operations Civil Engineer Squadron.

Foster operates Carolyn’s, a gift shop that has its main store in Muleshoe. She said that although the shop will move to a new location once the remodel is complete, it will remain at the BX .

Willis began his AAFES career 28 years ago in 1982 at Cannon working at the base service station, which is now the Cannon Federal Credit Union.

“The drive-through windows at the credit union were once gasoline pump bays,” he remembered.

He left Cannon in 1993 to work for AAFES at other places such as Colorado Springs, and then returned to the base in June 2008, when the base population was still decreasing.

“I was here in the 27th Fighter Wing heyday, and I am back as the 27th SOW continues its growth, he said. “AAFES will be a part of that growth as we continue to serve our customers.”


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