FORT LEE, Va., 2015-7-17 — /EPR Retail News/ — Silofa Orr set her alarm for 5:30 a.m. July 15, something she doesn’t normally do during the summer, especially now that she is pregnant and due in three weeks.
She had her two school-aged children and her 1 year old dressed and in the car by 6:30 and on their way to join hundreds of other service members and their families to be among the first shoppers to see the inside of their new commissary at Fort Rucker, Alabama.
Orr has been at Fort Rucker for two years. Her husband is an instructor pilot with the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence there. Orr said she had counted down the days waiting for the new commissary’s opening.
“I’m from the city and this store is big. It makes me feel like I’m home,” said Orr after having gone through the produce and meat departments. “The meat looks great – fresh. I love it, honestly. This is going to be wonderful for my family and the military here at Fort Rucker.”
Also at the commissary early was Director and CEO of the Defense Commissary Agency Joseph H. Jeu. In his comments to the crowd gathered for the ribbon-cutting ceremony he said, “I want you to know that we at the Defense Commissary Agency take pride in both serving and being an essential part of the military community. More than 60 percent of our employees have a connection to the military, either by serving themselves or through a family member. We exist solely to provide the commissary benefit for you – current and retired service members and your families.”
Jeu also explained how commissary shoppers played a big role in making the new facility possible. “I’m sometimes asked, ‘Where does the surcharge money go?’ Well, it goes right back into the commissaries. It’s used to build new stores and renovate old ones. You can see that here today,” he said.
Inside the store, sales promotions and product samplings were a hit with customers, as were the Commissary Gift Cards and other prizes offered by DeCA’s industry partners and vendors as a way to thank soldiers and their families for their service.
Sgt. Krystal Perryman, a non-commissioned officer who handles administrative duties for the 6th Military Police Detachment at Fort Rucker, was shopping for her five children and husband, Warrant Officer DeBrandon Perryman, a pilot training at the U.S. Army Aviation Center.
Perryman said the commissary was important to her family to keep their budget on track. “We save at least $150 a month at the commissary, especially during school time when we have to pack lunches.”
Store Director Bobby Ward was proud as a peacock to be opening the new Fort Rucker store. “Service members and their families make sacrifices every day,” he said. “My entire staff is thrilled we can now serve our deserving customers in this beautiful store.
“Just look at this fresh produce, it can’t be beat,” Ward added. “And we have an international delicatessen and bakery with delicious goods, sushi to-go and rotisserie chicken.”
The new commissary’s sales floor is 50 percent larger than the store it replaced a few blocks down the road. The old store had served the Fort Rucker community since 1969. Not as easily noticeable are the new store’s energy-saving design features that make it a more environmentally friendly facility.
By checkout time Orr had a cart overflowing with enough food she estimated would last her family for a week. “Shopping in the commissary makes a big difference in our grocery bill,” she said. “I come here often and know most of the cashiers and baggers. I’ll be back next week for more.”
For store hours and other information visit the Fort Rucker store page.
About DeCA: The Defense Commissary Agency operates a worldwide chain of commissaries providing groceries to military personnel, retirees and their families in a safe and secure shopping environment. Authorized patrons purchase items at cost plus a 5-percent surcharge, which covers the costs of building new commissaries and modernizing existing ones. Shoppers save an average of more than 30 percent on their purchases compared to commercial prices – savings amounting to thousands of dollars annually. A core military family support element, and a valued part of military pay and benefits, commissaries contribute to family readiness, enhance the quality of life for America’s military and their families, and help recruit and retain the best and brightest men and women to serve their country.
Kevin L. Robinson
(804) 734-8000, Ext. 4-8773