VETERAN SUPPORT — Team Red, White
Building Bonds Between Veterans and Fellow Americans
For Army Maj. Mike Erwin, the transition from military life — he served two tours in Iraq and once in Afghanistan during a five-year period — to civilian life proved very difficult.
Not long after his tour ended in Kandahar, Afghanistan, Erwin was in graduate school at the University of Michigan in the Ph.D. program, and feeling out of touch with students and campus life in Ann Arbor, Mich.
“I felt completely isolated,” he said. “You sacrifice five, 10 years of your life to military service, and then all of a sudden you cut the umbilical cord. It was a huge culture shock. The military is very clear. You know what your intent is, what your schedule is. The rest of the world is quite different.”
He imagined that many returning veterans would encounter similar feelings. And so Erwin, 32, and his wife discussed the need to create an organization that could help ease the transition of veterans into civilian society, at the same time bringing wounded veterans together with fellow Americans from the community for social and athletic events, such as running and cycling.
Erwin founded Team Red, White & Blue (RWB) in the spring of 2010. “We're connecting people who want to say 'thank you' to a veteran beyond just writing a check,” said Erwin, who teaches at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., and earned a master's degree in Positive Psychology and Leadership from the University of Michigan. ...Read more VETERAN SUPPORT ...
Defining the Keys to Holiday and Year-Round Success
For any retailer, preparing and executing successful strategies and tactics for the holidays is more than challenge enough. For military exchanges, the bar is raised higher: They must also deliver a compelling savings “benefit” to patrons — in not just one area but across a wide range of channels and categories. At the same time, they must generate an earnings dividend that allows them to both reinvest in new and renovated stores and also support Navy Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) activities on base.
In this exclusive interview with E and C News, Navy Exchange Service Command (NEXCOM) Senior Vice President (SVP) and Chief Merchandising Officer (CMO) Tess Paquette explained how NEXCOM continues to meet and exceed those expectations, and has plans to do so again this year. ...
On NEXCOM's complete branded
shopping experience: 'Our objective
was to create an emotional connection
with our customers and differentiate
ourselves from other retailers.'
— NEXCOM SVP and Chief Merchandising Officer Tess Paquette
Sales of frozen food items are doing extremely well within Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) stores. With healthy eating on the minds of many patrons, commissaries are catering to these needs with a growing assortment of healthy frozen items, along with an abundance of more traditional items.
According to Lou Kennedy, category manager, frozen and chilled foods, cumulative sales of frozen foods in fiscal 2012, for the period ending May 2012, were $369.68 million, a 3.28-percent increase from prior year.
A breakout of six specific frozen food subcategories' year-to-date performance in DeCA stores demonstrates that frozen food “is taking off,” he said. ...Read more DeCA FROZEN FOODS ...
Express Concept Refined for Convenience
As the Army & Air Force Exchange Service's (AAFES) rebranding of its convenience stores under the Express name continues, the product mix in these stores is also being further refined through a category review. According to Reggie Dawson, vice president of the Consumables Division in AAFES's Sales Directorate (SD), this is “to more closely align stock assortment with customer needs and wants.”
In general, she said, “The branding rollout continues to progress well and the results have been very favorable,” Dawson noted. “Our branded stores definitely have a very sharp look to them and an improved layout for our customers' shopping convenience.” ...
'Having a 2-percent increase in year-to-date sales speaks positively to the Beverage Team's efforts, and their focus on managing and increasing sales within this category despite the increased competition.'
— Vice President,Consumables Division, AAFES Sales Directorate, Reggie Dawson
Although everyday candy is an important year-round segment for the Army & Air Force Exchange (AAFES), seasonal candy provides a substantial boost to the overall candy business during the fourth quarter, when nearly 30 percent of the year's sales in the category are generated.
Achieving a successful fourth quarter requires proper planning, preparation and execution, among other factors, according to Julie Bierman, senior buyer, Retail Food, Sales Directorate Consumables, AAFES.
“We send out a strategy message for every season to both the Main and Express stores that includes the assortment, the seasonal sign kit, all promotions and sweepstakes, sampling events and floor set dates,” Bierman said.
While seasonal candy peaks around the major holiday seasons, everyday candy sales are generally consistent throughout the year. “The good news is that seasonal candy sales show themselves to be incremental to the total category and they don't take away from the everyday business,” Bierman said. ...Read more AAFES CANDY ...
Fueled by double-digit sales increases in fiscal 2011, the Marine Corps Exchange (MCX) was ready for more successes during this year's Back-to-School (BTS) period.
Karen Macdonald, stationery buyer for the Semper Fit and Exchange Services Division, reported that fiscal 2011 sales in the stationery/school supplies department increased 25 percent from the prior year, with $3 million in activity. The mid-summer BTS period accounted for 20 percent of that activity. ...
'Many of these items turn quickly, and we need to ensure the stores have a recovery and restocking plan to keep us in business. ... We want to ensure we have what our MCX customers need the first time.'
— Semper Fit and Exchange Services Division Stationery Buyer Karen Macdonald