Camp Walker Commissary brings 'VALUE' to the valued

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Area IV/Korea Store Director, Solange Gates, and visiting David C. Carey, the Defense Commissary Agency's Pacific Area director, headquartered at McClellan, Calif., stand proudly behind their commitment to provide quality service to all commissary patrons.
Area IV/Korea Store Director, Solange Gates, and visiting David C. Carey, the Defense Commissary Agency's Pacific Area director, headquartered at McClellan, Calif., stand proudly behind their commitment to provide quality service to all commissary patrons.

Camp Walker Commissary brings 'VALUE' to the valued

by: Mary B. Grimes | .
USAG Daegu PAO | .
published: May 20, 2015

If you’re looking for value when shopping for foodstuffs, then the Camp Walker Commissary is where you’ll find you won’t be just spinning your wheels. That’s because when it comes to getting more bang for your buck, the commissary keeps you in mind. This good fortune has everything to do with the men and women of the Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA), who on your behalf, work tirelessly behind the scene to ensure you have access to the best products and services.

DeCA operates a worldwide chain of commissaries providing groceries to military personnel, retirees and their families in a safe and secure shopping environment. Overseas, having an American-style grocery store on the installation is a valued service. A core military family support element, and a valued part of military pay and benefits, commissaries contribute to family readiness, enhance the quality of life for America’s military and their families, and help recruit and retain the best and brightest men and women to serve their country.

Touting a history that spans over a century, DeCA continues to live up to its goals and its commitment to provide the military community with a great shopping experience; sustain a capable, diverse and engaged civilian workforce; and be a model organization through agility and governance. Officials say that striving to reach the second and third goals helps DeCA achieve the first goal, to provide the military community with a great shopping experience.

That shopping experience is something that makes life for members of the USAG Daegu and Area IV community feel like they’re never far from home. It’s also something they don’t take for granted. “The commissary is important because it provides us with different options and items that we are used to in the United States. Another very positive thing about the Camp Walker commissary is that while it’s nice to experience shopping off post, you can always count on the commissary having those diversity items that you want, but may not be available or affordable in the Korea supermarket,” said commissary shopper Takenya N. Harris, USAG Daegu, Camp Henry.

Further supporting the sentiments expressed by Harris, Solange Gates, Daegu Commissary store director, said, “The availability of familiar and favorite foods in the on post commissary can bring a level of comfort and convenience to military families serving overseas. Shopping in a local Korean market can be a challenge without a personal guide to read product names, labels and cooking directions. Certainly this can be an adventure and part of the cultural experience of living abroad, but for everyday grocery shopping in the commissary is safe, convenient and saves money.”

Gates went on to explain that by shopping regularly at the commissary, patrons save an average of 30 percent or more on their purchases compared to commercial prices – savings amounting to thousands of dollars annually. She added that the savings in Korea are even higher due to the generally higher prices charged in supermarkets in Korea, compared to the U.S.

With value and savings always in mind, DeCA shows no signs of backing away from its goal of providing the military community with a great shopping experience. For example, shoppers in the Camp Walker Commissary can easily find the brands that consistently offer the best value – based on price – by looking for the orange shelf tag with the word ‘VALUE.’  The ‘VALUE’ tags help identify the best value product in its category. The average savings for Commissary Value Brands items is about 25 percent when compared to store brand or private label items found in commercial retail stores. In some instances, savings will be as much as 50 percent. The average savings when compared with market leader brands in commercial stores are about 43 percent.

Since first arriving in Daegu, Maj. Adrienne T. McDonald, 19th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, Camp Henry, has taken her shopping experience to both on and off post. She said, “I’ve had some positive experiences shopping at local Korean supermarkets. However, for a number of reasons, there is merit in shopping at the commissary. For one thing, the reasonable prices, and the other is the availability of those ‘VALUE’ products that are so much a part of the shopping landscape back home.”

For those wondering how the products on the Camp Walker Commissary shelves compare with other items in stores worldwide—in terms of quality and price, DeCA officials said commissaries in Korea stock the same core products as do commissaries in the U.S. Shoppers at the Camp Walker Commissary, which is a small store, will find the same familiar assortment of brands and products on the shelves as they did when they shopped in the states. The larger Yongsan Commissary and the future commissary at Camp Humphreys can stock a wider assortment of products than Camp Walker simply because they have more space for products.

To provide variety and local flavor, commissaries also stock products from local sources. Along with produce from local markets, the Camp Walker Commissary also carries a variety of juices, sodas, noodles and sauces from Korean producers.

The stories behind the support and services provided by DeCA are as plentiful as the products they bring to stores worldwide. Online and connected, the commissary website, https://www.commissaries.com, has information to help shoppers get the most from their commissary benefit. Each store has its own Web page with hours of operation and contact information for the store director. Driving directions, aisle directory, and upcoming events can be found on each store’s page. DeCA also connects with its shoppers on Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest and Twitter.

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