Thursday, May 20, 2010

Navy Exchange opens online store, Bethesda location to receive facelift

The Navy Exchange (NEX) has launched a new online store featuring thousands of select merchandise, including uniforms and safety gear. At the National Naval Medical Center, service members can take advantage of shopping on this site from home and, next year, they will also be able to shop at a newly renovated store on base.

The idea of the site was to offer a state of the art ‘‘cross-channel” retailer by extending product access to all NEX customers and providing them with a seamless shopping experience in channels that are convenient, relevant and efficient, said Karen Connery, director of E-Commerce for the NEX.

‘‘The NEX Web store is the first new channel beyond our ‘brick and mortar’ stores,” Connery said.

The online store, which can be found at, currently has 3,000 items available, such as tactical gear, Navy Pride items, fitness apparel, shoes, watches and sunglasses. Baby items and gear are expected to available online in June.

Bethesda’s store, currently located near the medical swing space, will be closing Jan. 17, 2011, for reconstruction, according to Kevin Comer, vice president of the NEX’s Northeast and Capital District. The store will be demolished and rebuilt in the same location. During the project, which is estimated to take about 18 to 24 months, a temporary store will open by the Navy Lodge on the old tennis courts.

The new building will be two stories and nearly 150,000 square feet, Comer said, replacing the current one-story building that is about 60,000 square feet. It is our intent with this expansion to be a premier store that will allow us to offer many popular brands in all categories.

As for the NEX subsidies, such as the dry cleaner and barber shop, it has not been decided whether they will be closing during construction, he said. However, the NEX is looking at trying to hold onto as many of these services as possible that are currently located in the main store. Most likely in late October, to renovate the uniform shop in Building One, it will move down the hall from its current location to allow us to expand to bring in new fixtures and equipment as well as a new dÈcor package,” Comer said.

Throughout the reconstruction, customers can shop online, at the temporary store or in a number of smaller NEXs in the D.C. area, such as at the Washington Navy Yard, Arlington Annex, Anacostia, Naval Support Activity Annapolis and Pax River Naval Air Station.