FORT LEE, Va. – “Bringing the benefit to you,” is a fitting slogan for the Defense Commissary Agency’s Guard and Reserve On-Site Sale program, which observes its 10th anniversary this year.
“For the past decade these sales have provided the commissary benefit to those who have earned it, but don’t live or work near a commissary, and its legacy is impressive to say the least,” said Willie Watkins, DeCA’s chief of e-business.
The program has served over 430,700 customers at more than 930 sales events, which have yielded more than $18 million in patron savings, Watkins noted.
The on-site sales have been held in diverse locations ranging from Marietta, Georgia, to Hilo, Hawaii, and Bismarck, North Dakota, and the agency is always on the lookout for more sale opportunities. Here’s how it works:
• Sales are cooperative efforts between sponsoring Guard and Reserve units, and commissary store directors who together determine sale locations and dates. A contingent at DeCA Headquarters gives guidance and oversees the process
• Sales average two or three days and are open to all authorized commissary shoppers
• Sales feature a wide variety of commissary products largely determined by shopper preferences at each location
• Customers shop and pay for purchases much like they would at a commissary. There are also preorder and prepay sales – where customers order their groceries on-line and pay for them prior to pick-up at the designated location – and hybrid sales that are a combination of conventional and preorder/prepay
• Sales are easy to find. DeCA’s website has a Guard/Reserve page that lists sales locations and dates along with contacts for more information on particular events
The program isn’t content to rest on its laurels. Watkins said they’re looking into the possibilities of joint ventures with the military Exchange services, which could serve as sale sites or sales pick-up locations since they have a number of stores at locations that don’t have commissaries.
“The commissary heritage is one of adapting to meet the needs of its patrons, and so we’re continuing to do that as we continue our tenth year of providing this valued service,” Watkins said.