Life for Soldiers and families at Fort Drum got more convenient with the Army & Air Force Exchange Service’s grand opening of a new Express store on July 8.
The Ontario Express also houses a four-chair barbershop and an Arby’s with a drive-thru.
Shoppers at the Express can grab healthy, better-for-you snacks like sushi, fresh fruit, salads, protein bars, bottled water and more. Drivers can also refuel at one of the eight gas pumps. It replaces the old, undersized Nash Express that was built in 1960 with a larger, more centrally located store.
“The Exchange’s mission is to make life better for our Soldiers and their families,” said General Manager Pat Hastings. “The Ontario Express adds convenience to the Fort Drum community – a new place for shoppers to fuel up their vehicles, grab a meal or a healthy snack and even get a haircut.”
The construction of the 12,000-square-foot facility took about 18 months to complete and cost $7.23 million. The project was funded entirely by the Exchange, which reinvests 100% of its earnings in the military community through support for on-installation Quality-of-Life programs, as well as capital improvements like the Ontario Express.
Last year, shopping Fort Drum Exchange facilities generated more than $1.4 million for Quality-of-Life programs at the post, such as the Child Development Centers and fitness centers.