The Warrior Way Express got a makeover recently and celebrated Thursday with free hot dogs, drinks and other specials.

“We’re just doing a little something for the soldiers to let them know we appreciate them,” said Nancy Juarez, manager of the store. She added they also were celebrating the Army & Air Force Exchange Service’s 119th birthday across the post.

The Express is sporting new flooring, as well as two new grills, an upgraded snack bar, freshly painted walls and signs and a renovated drink station, among other changes.

“We’ve got the new polished floors and the snack avenue is completely new,” she said. There is also a larger milkshake and coffee area, two additional Icee machines and two new grills.

Outside, Pepsi vendors handed out free waters and soda and Budweiser provided complimentary hot dogs and chips.

Sgt. Christopher Lyons patiently waited in line for hot dogs in the noon-time heat. When asked what brought him out, he wryly responded, “Free food.”

Soldiers regularly came in and out of the store for cool drinks, lunch items or snacks.

“This is one of my favorite spots,” said Sgt. Bryan McDougal, who lives nearby and frequently stops by after work.

He said the improvements make a big difference, especially the floors, which are no longer a “dingy grey.”

“And the checkouts are a whole lot better,” he said.

A person dressed in a green M&M costume stood near the front door shaking hands and occasionally startled some customers who assumed she was a figurine. More than one soldier jumped in mock fright at the prank.

The celebration continued at the Express that evening with a wine tasting. The “Bud Girls” arrived the following night to hand out freebies and entertain store patrons.

All AAFES businesses on-post served free birthday cake Friday in honor of the company’s 119th year in business.

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