Commissaries on the go

Guard/Reserve sales take benefit to patrons in remote areas

Note: To see photos related to this news release, visit our Flickr page.

FORT LEE, Va. (June 22, 2017) – Nothing differentiates commissaries from commercial grocers quite like the Guard/Reserve On-Site Sales that provide the commissary benefit to those who don't live near one.

"The Defense Commissary Agency started this service in 2008 and we're proud to be able to continue it because it means so much to those we serve," said Willie Watkins, the Agency's chief of e-Commerce.

"Year in and year out, these sales are made possible because of the continued cooperation between our stores, military units and our industry partners. The efforts are rewarded by the great turnout of appreciative customers who get the same level of savings they would find in a brick and mortar commissary," Watkins said.

As July and the 150th anniversary of the commissary benefit approach, here are some on-site sale facts:

  • 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 feature a wide variety of commissary products largely determined by shopper preferences at each location
  • 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
  • It's easy to find a sale. DeCA's website has a Guard/Reserve page that lists sales locations and dates along with contacts for more information on particular events.

To date, more than 888 sales events have been facilitated with total sales exceeding $51 million, saving 409,000 customers more than $17 million on their grocery bills. The on-site sales have taken the commissary benefit to locations as diverse as: Pago Pago, American Samoa; Hilo, Hawaii; Caribou, Maine; Marietta, Georgia; and Bismarck, North Dakota. It's an accomplishment Watkins says is consistent with commissary history.

"Commissaries have always adapted to the environment and changing technology to provide what is a valued benefit to our military personnel and their families," Watkins said. "On-site sales are consistent with our mission and are a natural extension of our heritage as providers of the commissary benefit."

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