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Thousands Flock to Commissary in its Return to Fort Worth

Thousands of customers have streamed through the commissary at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth during its first week of operation, reinforcing the military’s decision to return the benefit to North Texas.

“This is the first Defense Commissary Agency store to open on a joint services base,” said Rick Page, acting director, during the store’s grand opening ceremony on March 25.
3“And, this is the first commissary dedicated to serve Guard and Reserve members and their families.”

The opening of the Fort Worth commissary for a customer base of mostly Guard and Reserve members and their families is part of a DeCA initiative to expand the benefit to them wherever they are.

During its first week, the Fort Worth Commissary served nearly 12,000 customers, generating almost $900,000 in sales. Store Director Sam Tresenriter said the commissary has just started to “scratch the surface” of its customer base of 150,000 authorized shoppers. “So many customers expressed their pleasure that DeCA was back,” he said, “many were almost teary-eyed.”

“It’s about time [for a commissary to return here] because we do need good prices,” said Jessie Ruiz, 65-year-old military spouse of a retired Air Force noncommissioned officer. She drove about 20 miles to get to the base. “Our paychecks aren’t getting any bigger and buying groceries can be very expensive.”

In welcoming DeCA back to Fort Worth, Navy Capt. Ian McIntyre, installation commander, said the Fort Worth Commissary “is a huge quality of life benefit that will be enjoyed for a long time by all patrons.” McIntyre also thanked the Army and Air Force Exchange Service for the many years it operated a BXMart there.

DeCA last sold groceries in the Fort Worth area in 1993, on Carswell Air Force Base before it was closed as part of base realignment and closure. Eventually, the Carswell site was renamed Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth. AAFES operated the facility as a BXMart, selling groceries to military customers, from 1993 until DeCA’s recent conversion of the facility into a fully operating commissary.

“There is no question that the Guard and Reserves play a critical role defending our nation,” Page said. “America relies on both its active-duty and its reserve forces to preserve and protect our freedoms. Rightfully, the commissary benefit is extended equally.”