Small-Town Exchange Gets Big-Time Makeover

U.S. Air Force Col. Robert Pedersen, 97th Mission Support Group commander, and Store Manager Renee Reeves cut the ribbon to the renovated Exchange during a re-opening ceremony Nov. 20. 


Altus Air Force Base in Oklahoma is a remote base attached to one of the smallest towns of all U.S. military installations, which means service members assigned there rely heavily on the Exchange to supply what they need.

That’s why the Altus community was abuzz when the Exchange cut the ribbon on its newly updated facilities Nov. 20—more than 1,000 shoppers stopped by during the two-day grand re-opening celebration.

Shoppers flood into the renovated Exchange at Altus AFB, Okla.

“This is something the Exchange has been wanting to provide to Altus Airmen and families for a long time,” said Don Walter Jr., Altus Exchange general manager. “We’re pleased to deliver the modern shopping experience our heroes deserve.”

The Altus Exchange consists of a troop store, Express and military clothing housed in one building.

New flooring, fixtures and graphics were installed throughout the complex and the product offerings were expanded: a bigger BE FIT section; better clothing brand varieties; more laptops, TVs and Apple products for the PowerZone; a wider selection of health and beauty items; expanded housewares from name brands like Pioneer Woman and Gotham Steel; and more.

The stores, which were built in 1981 and hadn’t received significant updates in a decade, have all garnered positive feedback since the re-opening, from shoppers and associates alike.

“I love it,” said Donna Cartrette, shift manager, who has worked at the Altus Exchange for 34 years. “We’ve gotten so many compliments. It looks really good—they did a great job.”

Among her favorite improvements are the updated wall graphics that she said really make the space “pop.” Reconfiguring the space and knocking down a temporary wall also makes the stores feel bigger, brighter and roomier, she said.

Altus Airmen and the community seem to like the new digs: troop store and Express grand re-opening sales were more than $20,000 above the same two-day period last year—and Black Friday is just around the corner.

“The Exchange goes where you go,” Don said. “Whether downrange or tucked away in rural Oklahoma, the Exchange is there for our military.”

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