PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (NNS) -- Sailors' excitement and curiosity is increasing as the opening day for The Mall at Pearl Harbor is almost here.
"The wait is almost over," said Mike Cottrell, Navy Exchange District Manager/General Manager. "On Oct. 25, The Mall at Pearl Harbor opens its doors and customers can experience the new Navy Exchange (NEX) for themselves. We're excited and the entire NEX team is working extra long hours to make this the best exchange in the world."
To commemorate the opening day, the NEX will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 8 a.m. at the new store. Customers and invited guests are welcome to join the ceremony.
"Afterward, the NEX will proudly greet its first customers to the new Navy Exchange Hawaii," Cottrell said. "This will truly be a special day for our customers and associates."
As part of the Mall's premier opening, authorized customers can enter to win more than $50,000 in prizes from the NEX. Making guest appearances on Oct. 25 are NASA astronaut Dr. Rhea Seddon and local artist Kim Taylor Reese. Special character appearances include Hello Kitty, the M&Ms characters, the Pillsbury Dough Boy and Mr. Peanut.
Even with the opening day events, the main attraction to The Mall at Pearl Harbor will be what's actually inside the new exchange.
"The Mall at Pearl Harbor is going to change the way people think of the Navy Exchange," Cottrell said. "It's more than just a big store. It's a better shopping environment for the military community with a focus on value, quality and service with aloha."
Name brands like Tommy Bahama, Ralph Lauren, Roxy, Quicksilver and Levi will have a better presence at the NEX. The extra space The Mall offers allowed us to dramatically expand our clothing assortment, Cottrell said.
"We've created a department store layout with individual departments like women's, misses and juniors for clothing," said Cottrell. "Now it's more than just a couple of clothing racks separating the departments. The added space allows us to define where one department ends and another begins."
Retail space is not the only thing that has been enhanced at The Mall. Services like the beauty shop and one-hour photo are expanding their merchandise to offer customers more.
Customers can take a break from shopping and enjoy the new features offered at The Mall's beauty shop. In response to customer interest, massages, facials and pedicures will be available.
Twice as big as the current location, the new one-hour photo will be a fully digital lab. Customers can have prints made from digital formats such as CD, Sony Memory Stick and zip disks. To help shorten the checkout lines, the one-hour photo shop will feature two registers. Five counters will be available for customers to fill out their orders or look at their pictures.
"Customers won't feel crowded in the new one-hour photo as they do in the current location," Cottrell
said. "When we designed the different retail and service areas, we really considered what the customer would want in a new store."
Another area created to better serve the military community is the expanded food court that offers indoor and outdoor seating. New restaurants such as Popeye's, Sbarro and Charley's Steakery will join customer-favorites McDonald's, Subway and Chowmein Express in the new food court.
"Whether it's the food court or our merchandise, we've made every effort to give our customers more," Cottrell said.
The current Navy Exchange will continue operating until Oct. 25 when the new exchange opens.
"Our associates continue to stock the shelves at our current location until The Mall opens," said Cottrell.
"If there's something you need, please let us know," added Cottrell. "It doesn't matter if we have a new store or an old store; our goal is to make you happy and exceed your shopping expectations. I believe our patrons will really have something to be quite proud of. After all, it's their store."
For related news, visit the Commander, Navy Region Hawaii Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cnrh.