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Tax free store for veterans completes $5.2M renovation

Patriot-News - 9/19/2022

The Carlisle Barracks Exchange looks likes your typical department store.

The store sells everything from clothing and electronics to camping items, housewares, cleaning items, pet items and candy. There’s even a seasonal space for Halloween, a spot that sells Yankee Candle items and an alcohol section in the back.

But, what separates this store from other retail establishments is its located on the grounds of the U.S. Army War College, and is only open to members of the military, active or reserve, and retirees and their families.

And everything is tax free.

Carlisle Barracks Exchange officials celebrated a $5.2 million expansion on Monday afternoon. The project began in February 2020. The Carlisle Barracks Exchange has 40,974 square feet of space. And it stayed open throughout the project.

“We did not close,” said Valerie Bright, general manager of the Carlisle Barracks Exchange. “We worked through that renovation as well as the pandemic.”

The project included renovations to the store including new sections like PowerZone for electronics, and Be Fit for fitness gear.

The new food court replaces a Subway restaurant and includes Hunt Brothers Pizza, Chopz and Eddie Peppers quick-serve restaurants, as well as Snack Avenue, which offers pre-packaged foods. The project also included a revamped pharmacy and wall signage that outlines the history of the college.

There is also new flooring throughout the store; and a remodeled customer service area. The building also has a barber shop and an optical store.

The Carlisle Barracks Exchange is on a secured property, so shoppers would need proper identification to access the property.

“You have to have a DoD (Department of Defense) card and if you don’t have that card you have to go to the welcome center,” Bright said.

The welcome center is located at 870 Jim Thorpe Road in North Middleton Township. The Carlisle Barracks Exchange is located at Bldg. 844, Sumner Road.

Officials encourage veterans from the community and beyond to shop at the Carlisle Barracks Exchange.

The hours of the store are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

“We are happy that it is completed and we love the end results,” Bright said.

The project was funded by the Exchange, with the post contributing $1.2 million for the remodeled pharmacy and other improvements.

Amanda Hartfield, vice president, Northeast region of the Army & Air Force Exchange Service, said this was the first time the Carlisle Barracks Exchange received major upgrades since it opened in 1975.

“This marks an historic day,” she said.

Lt. Col. Jeannette Molina, said The Exchange has been under construction since she arrived to the U.S. Army War College.

“It’s definitely nice to see that’s it’s finally completed,” she said.

In addition to the new brick-and-mortar store, Veterans can also shop online and can verify their eligibility for tax-free online shopping at

The Army & Air Force Exchange Service was founded in 1895. Officials say that The Exchange is the 54th-largest retailer in the United States, and that 100% of Exchange earnings support military communities.

The U.S. Army War College educates the army’s senior leaders and joint forces. The current class has about 400 students including 70 international students. The college is located about 25 minutes from downtown Harrisburg.

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