A 1st Cavalry Division Soldier picks up a prize bag at the grand re-opening of the 1st Cav Mini-Mall Express Friday. (U.S. Army photo by Eric Franklin, Fort Hood Public Affairs)

FORT HOOD, Texas — With a snip of the ribbon by Command Sgt. Maj. Matthew E. Ladd, U.S. Army Garrison - Fort Hood command sergeant major, Adam Shaw, Fort Hood Exchange manager, and others cut the ribbon on a newly-renovated 1st Cav Mini-Mall Express Friday.

The nine-month renovation project included a team effort between the post and a variety of engineering groups, including the Directorate of Public Works.

As part of Fort Hood’s quality of life initiative, the Exchange funded this renovation, which began in August 2021 and was completed earlier this month, despite challenges posed by COVID-19, said Adam Shaw, Fort Hood Exchange general manager.

“(It costs) well over a half-million dollars, just the Express side,” he said. “And then, we also had other components on the outside of the Express itself … many internal parts, ordering new equipment, revamping old out-of-date standards, and bringing in Hunt Brothers Pizza, a new franchise.”

Renovations and improvements of the shopping space included an updated barbershop, and better seating for Burger King and Jimmy Johns. Now shopping in the Express is more convenient with an improved flow.

“This is about improving the quality of life of service members, families and veterans who utilize (the) Mini-Mall Express,” Shaw added.

The Express mainly supports Soldiers in the 1st Cavalry Division and students in classes at the nearby Central Texas College, and those attending courses at the Soldier Development Center classes.

“When you come, think about the students across the street, and the Soldiers in the barracks are within walking distance,” Shaw noted. “It’s their habitat … (where) they can come to day in, day out.”

Pfc. Miguel Palito, 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery Regiment 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, walked into the Express to grab lunch. While there, he picked a free slice of Hunt Brothers Pizza and wings as part of the re-opening celebration.

He said the changes to the store are nice.

“I think the overall design is nice and inviting,” he said. “I like it, and I think other people will like it.”

The 1st Cav Mini-Mall Express is located in Bldg. 33012, on Legends Way. The Express is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., weekdays, and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturdays. It is closed on Sundays. For more information, call 254-532-3628.