The largest exchange in the Marine Corps -- encompassing 147,000 square feet -- opened Thursday at Camp Pendleton.
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"It's gorgeous," shopper Alena Vaughn said. "It looks like Nordstrom or Macy's, even better. There's more space, it's gorgeous."
The $40 million one-stop shopping facility for active-duty and retired military and their families took five years to plan and build. It's located just inside the Main Gate, across from the commissary.
The MCX includes eateries like Dunkin' Donuts and Yogurtland, a barber shop and many other services and products. It also includes a tailor shop, florist, watch and jewelry repair, engraving shop, dry cleaner and vision center.
In return for their military service, the exchange, like all other exchanges on military bases, does not charge sales tax.
"Providing the largest shopping venue in the Marine Corps is an exciting way to show we appreciate all the sacrifices they make and hope they will enjoy the one-stop shopping experience,' said George Ladd, Marine Corps Community Services retail director.
Marine Corps Community Services is holding a grand opening celebration through the weekend, and will give away a Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck, a Honda motorcycle, vacations to Disney World and Las Vegas and a $1,000 MCX shopping spree.
Padres catcher Nick Hundley used his off-day to attend the opening, thanking Marines for their service while wearing a camouflage jersey.
Only authorized military and civilian patrons are allowed to shop at the MCX, which will be open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
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