Camp Humphreys Exchange Shopping Center opens in time for holiday shopping

by Julie Mitchell, Army & Air Force Exchange Service HQ
Stripes Korea

U.S. ARMY GARRISION HUMPHREYS, South Korea – The Army & Air Force Exchange Service unveiled its third-largest shopping center in time to spread holiday cheer to Soldiers and families at Camp Humphreys during a ribbon-cutting ceremony Nov. 20.

The $64 million shopping center, a joint project between the Exchange, the Republic of Korea and the Army Corps of Engineers, houses a department store, food court and mall with a strong name-brand presence. At 300,000 square feet, the new shopping center is five times larger than the 14-year-old facility it replaced.

“This new Exchange comes just in time for the holidays, helping make Camp Humphreys feel like home for our 8th Army families,” said Lt. Gen. Tom Vandal, 8th Army commanding general and Republic of Korea-U.S. Combined Forces Command chief of staff.

Construction on the Camp Humphreys Exchange Shopping Center began in 2014. Collaboration among the Exchange, United States Forces Korea and contractors allowed the shopping center to open earlier than expected, giving Soldiers and military families a taste of home during the holidays. The new building is part of the relocation and transformation at Humphreys, which will see its population reach 44,000 in the coming years, up from roughly 10,000 when the effort began. About 26,000 service members, military families and Department of Defense civilians are living on the installation.

“We want this shopping center to become your gathering place—your taste of home, a lifeline to America,” said Exchange Director/CEO Tom Shull. “It is truly our honor, our duty and our privilege to bring a taste of home and needed calm to the Camp Humphreys community.”

The main Exchange features a Military Clothing store, BE FIT center, a one-stop shop for men’s and women’s athletic apparel and shoes, a Chef Shop, Apple shop, Ashley furniture and more national brands. The mall, which looks just a mall back in the States, includes GNC, Pandora, Starbucks and other well-known names. In the food court, diners can choose from American brands including Arby’s, Auntie Anne’s, Popeyes and other eateries, which all feature better-for-you options.

2nd Lt. Richard Suh and fellow Soldiers from the 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade who serve at Suwon Air Base, 40 miles north of Humphreys, joined in the grand-opening celebration before a training exercise.

“I’m going to buy a TV,” said Suh, who had his eye on an LG 43-inch 4K model. “This store is awesome.”

Sgt. Thomas Blalock, who serves with Suh, picked up an Apple TV and adapter.

“This store is a lot bigger than the old one,” Blalock said. “There’s a lot more to choose from, especially in the electronics section.”

Every time Soldiers and families shop and dine at the Camp Humphreys Shopping Center, they are making life better for those who live and work on the installation. Exchange earnings support military Quality-of-Life programs, including combat uniforms below cost, Fitness Centers, Child Development Centers, Youth Programs, school lunches for Warfighters’ children and more. The Exchange has also hired 1,000 Wounded Warriors, second only to the U.S. Army. In 2016, the Humphreys Exchange generated $1.8 million for Quality-of-Life programs. The new store is expected to double the amount of support generated.

Pfc. Demetrius Lewis and fellow Soldiers from the 304th Expeditionary Signal Battalion came to support the grand opening.

“Pretty much our whole company is here to support the grand opening,” said Lewis, who was dining in the food court. “I ate at Charleys. It was really good—really flavorful.

“Everything here has a good feel to it. It’s amazing.”

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