MCLB-ALBANY -- Marines both active and retired, and their families, now have another place to shop in Albany for the holidays.
The Marine Corps Exchange (MCX), a shopping outlet serving thousands of active duty and retired military personnel in the region, reopened aboard Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany Thursday after a $6.4 million renovation. It was closed for eight months.
Michael Tharrington, deputy director for business operations for the personal and family readiness division at Headquarters Marine Corps, said the renovation was invested in to address inconsistencies in service delivery.
"We realized we wanted this to be the ultimate shopping experience," he said. "This Marine Corps Exchange has the same standards of others throughout the region. It's important the Marine Corps Exchange has this consistency of brand. We are here to support you."
With the improvements to the facility, the outlet aboard MCLB-Albany is more in line with counterpart facilities elsewhere, officials say.
"It's just a wonderful facility," said Richard French, director of Marine Corps Community Services. "You don't have to be at Camp Lejeune to get this. You (Marines and families) deserve every bit of this."
Also on hand at the renovation's ribbon-cutting was Col. Terry V. Williams, commanding officer of the base.
"This is about the quality of life for all of you that can come out here and shop," he said.
The renovation's opening was met with a very positive response from active and retired personnel as well as their families. George Mettrick, head of retail for the store, said he is encouraged by the opportunity to serve the patrons that walk through the door.
"This compliments what we've done and what we're still doing; we're just glad everyone is here," he said. "The bottom line is, they are entitled to it. We're here to help."
The renovated facility sits on the original site of the base's MCX, which was first developed in 1952. The store is now 22,000 square feet in size.
The reopening of the MCX is one of three such events on base this week. On Tuesday, the Senior Noncommissioned Officers club, renovated at a cost of $85,000, reopened. A ribbon-cutting of the MCLB-Albany bowling alley is scheduled for today, which was renovated at a cost of $400,000.
All of these projects were funded with money from non-appropriated funds. No tax dollars were used.