Your New MCX

March Preview Cover

Your New MCX

Aaron Pylinski | Staff Writer

Seven years ago

MCCS Iwakuni embarked on a grand journey to build the most magnificent monument to shopping and services known to the United States Marine Corps. This month, that journey comes to a triumphant end and marks a new and better shopping experience for everyone in the community.

“It’s exciting watching this thing go from the earliest stages from when the old commissary came down, moving the dirt piles that were there, and seeing this new, gorgeous building coming up." - David Leonhardt, Retail & Services Administrative Specialist Even for the store associates, the excitement is unmistakable. Also, of course, it’s important that all who are aboard the station are afforded a place to shop, eat, and rendezvous.

“This is exciting because - this is the biggest store in the Marine Corps. It’s incredible that it is here in Iwakuni and I will be a part of it,” says Ketty Gunki, a Marine Mart cashier.

Our Retail & Services team partnered with MCCS Headquarters, local contractors, and numerous other entities to assist in creating the largest and most remote MCX in the United States Marine Corps. The new MCX has twice the square footage as the old store and is set up to provide a stateside level of stock and support.

“Everyone at Headquarters is interested in this project, from the store workers to the buyers. Everyone wants to see this all succeed,” says Jessica Cheshire, the District Liaison from 29 Palms. She’s been here since November 2018 assisting with everything from logistics to employee support.

The Long History of the MCX

The MCX has a storied history over the years.

Jennifer Stafford, the Assistant Buyer for Military Clothing, is, directly and indirectly, involved with the growth of the MCX on MCAS Iwakuni since the early ‘90s.

Her mother, Kathleen Nuzum, was a Marine Corps Warrant Officer stationed on the air station in the ‘80s. She helped with both the Freedom Plaza and then the MCX Mall we’re now shuttering.

"My mom spent four years here getting the MCX project come to fruition back in the ‘80s. This was such a huge deal for the installation." - Jennifer Stafford, Assistant Buyer for Military Clothing Way back in yesteryear - before most people even used credit cards - Freedom Plaza was where residents of the air station did their shopping.

The layout was sprawling and not completely organized, but it did suffice for the community while the MCX (billed as a mall at the time) was in its infant stages.

Ms. Stafford noted the state of the store, “It was very spread out with a limited assortment. But, every Saturday we’d go down to the Exchange and had Wendy’s for lunch.”

This was in 1986, and the Exchange also had a Mrs. Fields cookie shop. That same year, the Exchange started accepting credit cards, a far cry from our highly mobile, smart device-centered lives we live today.

"Headquarters is working to help the staff become more efficient in their duties and knowledgeable to provide better customer service." -Jessica Cheshire

Three years later, the MCX Mall was erected, and MCAS Iwakuni was given a 77,000 square foot, two-story mall for the community to shop at. “We’re most excited to have a new store for the servicemembers and their families to shop at. The store is huge and has a lot more options for everyone to do their shopping,” says Ms. Stafford, “This is where most people on the air station will shop. This store puts merchandise right here and is very convenient.” Now the building is coming to its end, and we’re excited to open an even larger store, with a bigger selection of merchandise, and many more amenities of home. Being an isolated community in Southern Japan lends challenges to those of us stationed aboard, especially when it comes to shopping. It’s not just a new building; it’s also a new approach to customer service and store operations.

old favorites

  • tornadoes
  • burritos
  • salads

new additions

  • larger coffee assortment
  • pastries
  • fruit
  • hotdogs
  • soups
  • rice bowls
  • sandwiches

What to Expect

The new MCX isn’t just square footage, glitz, and glamor. We’re bringing more stateside amenities to the public as well. We’re also making the new MCX a one-stop location for all the community’s shopping needs.

The Retail & Services Administrative Specialist, David Leonhardt, says, “Anyone that’s been here more than six years is going to be pleasantly surprised coming in the door. The new store has more space and is easy to maneuver.”

Details from the Chief of Retail and Services, Rusti Rausch


The total square footage of the new store is almost double the old store.

With great square footage comes great product variety.

  • Increased number of line items from 49,000 to over 65,000 selections
  • All cosmetics housed in the same location regardless of price to include an expanded assortment of mass cosmetics. The new MCX will also have a new Shiseido Prestige Cosmetics Shop. New jewelry counter with Nomades Jewelry similar to Pandora. Nomades Jewelry employs active duty military and dependents and features charms describing San Diego, Pearl Harbor, and other military bases.
  • The New MCX will have a more robust sleep shop in the furniture department. They partnered with Yellow Box for their upholstered furniture assortment. This will include deliveries, assembly, and pickups.
  • salads
  • The electronics department gets an upgrade with new Bose and Sony floor fixtures.
  • The store includes a new children’s toy assortment featuring an interactive Nerf Range.
  • Upgraded Bath and Body, Victoria’s Secret, Yankee Candle and Wood Wick Candle shops.

Food Bar Concept


The last day for the main side of the old MCX is March 4. The old Marine Mart will close March 13.

Consolidated Shopping

MCXTreme Bikes & More and Four Seasons Gift Shop are relocating to the new store.

"So many hands across MCCS have been so instrumental in standing this new store up." - David Leonhardt

Hiring Opportunities

A bigger store with more options comes with a need for more employees. The MCX is actively hiring store associates to work on the sales floor, stock shelves, and everything in between. This is an excellent opportunity for someone to get a foothold on steady employment at MCCS, even if they don't have retail experience.

"Our store boasts an expanded assortment, new concepts, and new shops." -Rusti Rausch, Chief of Reatil & Services, MCCS Iwakuni

With its sheer size and potential, our new retail mecca is sure to be a community favorite. Expect a new parking lot to be finished in Fall 2020. There will also be extensive use of the space between the new MCX and the Crossroads for seating and special events. This hasn’t been an easy task to accomplish and no one has felt the strain more than the community. Chief of Retail and Services, Rusti Rausch, says, “I’d like to thank the community for their patience as we put them through the wringer.” We hope everyone gets as much out of it as we’ve all put into it.
"Get ready to be wowed! The store is bright, it’s new, and we’re excited for the community to come and shop."- Jennifer Stafford, Assistant Buyer for Military Clothing