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E and C NEWS

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ECN CoverE and C Commissary News

Highlights of August 2013 Issue



HRALA Honors Record 25 Scholarship Award Winners


• NORFOLK — On June 6, the Hampton Roads Chapter of the American Logistics Association (HRALA) presented a record 25 scholarships to incoming college freshmen, all military dependents or legacy recipients. The event, which coincided with the 69th anniversary of the D-Day Invasion, was held on the fantail of the Battleship U.S.S. Wisconsin (BB-64).

Twenty-four scholarships were awarded in the sum of $1,500 each. Sarah DeNoble received the first Captain Ollie Bates III Memorial Scholarship, in the amount of $2,500, honoring the late HRALA president, who also was a retired Navy captain and a long-time active member of the ALA. ...


AAFES Opens 'Incredible New Store,' 'Unlike Any Other'


• FORT BELVOIR, Va. — Funded with recapitalization dollars from earnings on sales, on June 19, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) opened a new Exchange shopping center here located behind the former exchange facility. Dubbed “the largest branded Exchange in the U.S.,” the store offers many revamped and new services. Among its customers stationed on base are personnel and families associated with two Army major command headquarters, 10 different Army major commands, 19 different Army agencies, eight Army National Guard and Reserve elements, and 26 Department of Defense (DoD) agencies. Also located here are a Navy construction battalion, a Marine Corps detachment, an Air Force activity, and a Department of the Treasury agency.

The new 270,062-square-foot exchange “is a testament to the Exchange's steadfast commitment to our calling of serving those who serve,” said AAFES Director/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Tom Shull. “We continually work very diligently to ensure that what we deliver will be the very best. And I think that we have that here with this incredible new store.” ...


Exchange Cited for Participation in Vietnam War Commemorative
Partner Program


• FORT BELVOIR, Va. — In recognition of the participation of the Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) in the 50th Anniversary Vietnam War Commemorative Partner Program, Exchange Director/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Tom Shull received a certificate of proclamation and a commemorative flag presented by Lt. Gen. Raymond Mason, USA, vice chairman of the Exchange Board of Directors and Army Staff Lead for the Interagency Advisory Group.

“Just like our warfighters today, those fighting in Vietnam were doing multiple tours and, frankly, we didn't welcome them home the way we should have,” Mason noted during a June 18 ceremony here. “Now, we are finally doing the right thing in honoring these Veterans, and I want to thank Tom and the Exchange for taking on this mission.” ...


Read more IN THE NEWS ...

ALA HAT LADIES: Hats Aplenty at 10th Anniversary HRALA Luncheon


On May 31, 2013, the American Logistics Association-Hampton Roads, Va., (HRALA) Chapter held its annual luncheon at the Country Club of Petersburg. Ladies of the military resale industry gathered to dine, socialize, and celebrate the 10th anniversary of this networking luncheon.

This annual spring event, founded and still chaired by Tommie Draper, vice president of national accounts, Overseas Service Corporation (OSC), was first held at the Hotel Jefferson in Richmond in 2003, and was attended by 10 guests. Today, it has become a grand affair, with 50 attendees from all branches of retail services including vendors, manufacturers, and retailers.

This year's celebration was highlighted by the attendance of Sung-Hee Jeu, the wife of Joseph H. Jeu, director and chief executive officer (CEO) of the Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA). ...

Read more ALA HAT LADIES ...

AAFES INTERVIEW: 'An Indispensable Quality of Life'

Senior Enlisted Advisor, Chief Master Sgt. Tony Pearson, USAF

Chief Master Sgt. Tony Pearson, USAF, is more than just the Army & Air Force Exchange (AAFES) chief master sergeant, and he is more than merely the senior enlisted advisor to AAFES Director and Chief Executive Director Thomas “Tom” Shull; he is also a customer of the exchange service for nearly three decades, a combat theater veteran, and he holds an advanced degree in human resource management.

As such, he is well positioned to enjoin and enhance the intimate discourse between the Exchange director and the Exchange's 12.5 million active duty, Guard, reserve, family member and retired patrons.

In this exclusive interview with E and C News, Pearson speaks about his role as senior enlisted advisor and the importance of the Exchange to the community it serves, to morale, welfare and recreation (MWR), and to the mission readiness of today's Army and Air Force personnel. ...

'On every occasion I take the opportunity to gather feedback, helping the Exchange better provide quality products and services and driving the business.'
— AAFES Senior Enlisted Advisor, Chief Master Sgt. Tony Pearson, USAF


Read the complete TONY PEARSON INTERVIEW ...



While commissaries may be synonymous with savings in many patrons' minds, they also lead with excellence in another dimension of the retailing discipline — responsiveness to customer's needs. And the points at which the military mission and patrons' dietary requirements intersect have become important areas of focus for the agency. Where once, for example, gluten-free, lactose-free items, and other products that address allergies or specific dietary requirements, were regarded as limited niche needs, they have become more commonplace, and patrons need look no further than their local stores to find them.

Edibles Category Manager Barbara Merriweather — who includes an important group of these products among her edibles category responsibilities — told E and C News that shoppers have asked their store directors and the agency for many of these items, “due to their own needs, or those of other family members, and manufacturers have responded,” by making available a wider selection of these types of products. “It was a mix of the two in addition to what we have garnered from trade journals, shopper insight panels and what we began to recognize as a continuing trend in remaining markets (RM),” she noted. “DeCA began receiving requests from patrons who themselves or family members were gluten- or lactose-intolerant. These patrons were looking for variety and gluten-free or lactose-free items across all categories. These trends served as our primary indicator of the genuine need in the commissaries for more of these types of dietary considerations for our military patrons.”...

'All of these products are categorized as 'Good-For-You' foods, which ultimately helps our customers select healthy foods that suit their diets ... .'
— DeCA Edibles Category Manager Barbara Merriweather



Leading for Tomorrow

Thomas P. Jacobsen, General Manager, NS Norfolk, Va.

The Health and Beauty Care (HBC) areas in Navy Exchange Service Command (NEXCOM) stores have been the subject of increasing attention to detail and tactics in recent years.

As a key store area for many small stores and a vital segment for main stores, various subcategories within the overarching HBC category have been realigned a number of times in the last decade. In addition, HBC has experienced both an end-to-end supply chain test — from manufacturer to warehouse to checkout — as well as a boost in profile through NEXCOM's tiered speed-to-shelf and promotional strategies.

Most recently, the “A Better You” initiative that focuses on “wellness”-related products has been introduced to maximize this strong retail trend through category adjacencies, fresh signage, and new displays and planograms.

At store level, however, where the razor blade meets the stubble, the mascara enlivens the eyelashes, and the product ultimately hits the shelves, general managers, store managers and HBC department staff are tasked with executing headquarters strategies to perfection for a category where an empty space on a shelf or display can mean all the difference between retaining a customer and building loyalty or losing a patron to a different source.

The exchange at NS Norfolk, Va., one of several main stores where new HBC sections have recently been implemented, is in steady hands with General Manager (GM) Thomas P. Jacobsen, a former Marine armed with an extensive resume in retail operations both inside and outside the gate. Jacobsen's experience is put to the test at this busy exchange, which is open seven days a week, 12 hours daily. ...


DeCA HOUSEHOLD CLEANING: 'Cleaning Up' With Values


The Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) continues to strengthen its portfolio of household cleaning products with an eye toward value items that offer quality and savings for its patrons.

A comparison of commissary and remaining market (RM) sales indicated that commissary unit sales declined less than in stores outside-the gate — 4 percent at DeCA versus 5 percent in the remaining market (RM) — according to LaRue Smith, non-edibles category manager in the headquarters-based Sales Directorate (SD). Through fiscal year-to-date June 2013, however, a 7-percent decline in volume to $32.11 million for dishwasher detergents, laundry detergents, and household cleaners, indicated that sales of lower price-point and value items had come into play, as well as possible pressure from dollar stores.

“Household categories have traditionally posted modest but consistent gains, but we've seen some negative growth due to the growing popularity of certain retail shopping outlets such as dollar stores, Smith related to E and C News. “To help counter this trend, we are looking at offering customers more incentives to shop the commissary. We are now offering 'regime' promotions or solution-oriented promotions, including a good variety of bonus packs or value-pack products, to motivate our customers to purchase more.” ...




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