MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER, TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. -- The Marine Corps Exchange at Camp Wilson, a tiny jewel of civilization for Marines taking part in Combined Arms Exercises, is about to get a little less tiny.
Construction began Feb. 5 on a $400,000 expansion project that will add 2,000 square feet to the exchange's approximately 4,000 square feet of space.
"With the expansion, we'll be able to put more merchandise on the floor," said SSgt. Carol Allegretto, 35, of Chicago, exchange manager. She said the new space will be divided evenly, with 1,000 square feet for storage and 1,000 added to the retail area. The project is scheduled for completion June 1.
"We have a great selection for a store this size," Allegretto said. "But it takes a lot to maintain that variety." She explained that, because of the exchange's current lack of space and high sales volume, employees are forced to stock at least $30,000 in merchandise on the retail floor every day. Allegretto reorders merchandise nearly every day because there is no room to store anything. It's all out on the floor.
"It's killing us to constantly stock everything, but there's nothing we won't get for a Marine out here," Allegretto said. "Now we may only have to order something every three or four days instead of every single day."
In addition to the added space, the expansion project will add a cash register to the four currently serving exchange patrons. Also, registers will be moved to add more space to move between them, creating a more comfortable shopping environment for patrons.
Allegretto said the expansion project will not interrupt business at the exchange.