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Commissaries to spotlight
quality of life offerings

By Bonnie Powell, Defense Commissary Agency 

      You're ready to serve your country. Your commissary is ready to serve you.

Photo of commissary patrons checking out their purchases at the Fort McCoy Commissary checkout area.

Commissary patrons check out their purchases at the Fort McCoy Commissary checkout area. (File Photo)

      "That's our most important mission," says Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) Director Maj. Gen. Robert J. Courter Jr. "Commissaries are an essential part of the worldwide military community, and that's just one of the messages we want to deliver to our servicemembers during Commissary Awareness Month in May."

      Actually, every month is Commissary Awareness Month at DeCA.

      "Commissaries are a military benefit offering grocery savings of more than 30 percent," says Courter. "Our store directors have been working hard to deliver the good news to the entire military community, from single servicemembers to families, from retirees to Guard and Reserve members."  Savings for a family of four shopping regularly in the commissary can amount to over $2,400 per year.

      "We also want to communicate the message that we are a part of readiness - a core element of military family support," says Courter. "We enable military families to be assigned worldwide with active-duty members, and we impact quality of life, retention, and a sense of  community.   Consistent delivery of  U.S. grocery products and great prices worldwide are what we are all about."

May commissary case lot sales

      Commissary case lot sales are planned for Volk Field and the Fort McCoy Commissary during May.

      The Volk Field case lot sale will be May 4-5 at a tent at Volk Field.  Directional signs will be posted. Tickets for merchandise will be purchased at the tent.

      Items will be picked up from Hangar No. 504.  Hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. May 4 and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. May 5.

      Fort McCoy will host a Commissary case lot sale May 23-24. The hours will be 10 a.m.-6 p.m. both days.

      Authorized patrons will be required to come to the Commissary, building 2132 to purchase tickets for merchandise.

      Items will be picked up at a location to be determined.

      For more information about the case lot sales, call (608) 388-3542.

      For more information about commissaries, visit the Web site  www.commissaries.com.

      Commissaries continue to be a focal point of the military community in 2002, just as they have been for more than 135 years.

      The biannual Commissary Customer Satisfaction Survey rates customer satisfaction higher than ever.

      Commissaries are open only to authorized military personnel.

      DeCA, formed in 1991 from the separate commissary systems, is celebrating its 10th year of existence as an agency, but it's still changing, evolving, and striving for improvements.

      "Yes, we have a long tradition behind us, but we haven't stopped seeking a higher standard," says Courter. "Our stores now offer the freshest produce at great prices, unbeatable deals on fresh meats and we've developed the Best Value Item and Manager's Specials programs to offer even lower prices. We've also streamlined our operations to control costs, while increasing savings and improving customer service."

      Commissaries have been listening and responding to customer feedback through focus groups and the "Your Action Line" program. 

       As a result, conveniences such as short-term parking, more express lanes, Grab 'n' Go and quick meal sections, express lunches and more have been added to stores.

      Many commissaries will "strut their stuff" by planning outreach activities and tours during Commissary Awareness Month. "Serving Up Savings," a brand new outreach video about commissary shopping, will make its debut along with "Click 'n' Save," a video that helps increase awareness of the commissary Web site and how authorized shoppers can use it to save money. DeCA also will be announcing recipients in the 2002 "Scholarships for Military Children" program in May.

      "The scholarship program is just one more way we have become more essential in the lives of military families," says Courter.  "Nearly 400 scholarships were awarded in 2001, and that number will grow this year."

      Find out more about Commissary Awareness Month by checking out DeCA's Web site www.commissaries.com in May (the site will be down from April 29-May 6) for online shopping sprees, what's on sale, and other news about Commissary Awareness Month. Find out what's happening at your local commissary through the "locations" link.

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