“The groceries are coming! The groceries are coming!”
With apologies to Paul Revere, those could be the fighting words of the Defense Commissary Agency as it strives to deliver the benefit to geographically separated Reserve and National Guard members and their families throughout America.
“It’s open season for good ideas on how to expand the benefit to our reserve forces,” said Rick Page, DeCA’s acting director. “Help us get more of the benefit to you.”
Thinking outside the “box” of conventional commissary locations, DeCA team members have been taking the benefit on the road to authorized shoppers, conducting on-site sales out of warehouses, aircraft hangars, armories, tents in parking lots, and even the back ends of semitrailers. Even as the agency plans to increase the number of these events this year, industry partners made them even more inviting by donating $95,000 in commissary gift certificates for distribution to thousands of National Guard members during the past holiday season.
The extent of industry support surprised even DeCA officials. “I was overwhelmed by the generosity of our suppliers and manufacturers,” Page said. “Since your commissary delivers 30 percent savings or more, that $95,000 in your shopping cart represents $130,000 in a commercial grocery store.”
The American Logistics Association presented industry’s gift to the National Guard Bureau chief at the Pentagon in December. The ALA’s members represent industries providing products and services to military resale systems, including commissaries and military exchanges.