New commissary opens at NAS Jacksonville
FORT LEE, Va. (Feb. 2, 2017) – On a crisp, cloudless morning service members and their families at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Florida, lined up as early as 4 a.m. to be among the first to shop in their new commissary.
The day began with Defense Commissary Agency Director and CEO Joseph H. Jeu and NAS Jacksonville Commanding Officer Capt. Sean Haley greeting customers during the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
During his speech Jeu highlighted some of the new features in the store – the most unique being the Living Well Corner.
"There's something totally new. It's the Living Well Corner, the first thing you see when you walk in the door," said Jeu. "More than 1,500 items, from frozen and chilled to dry and fresh, make up the Living Well assortment."
The Living Well Corner includes organic and natural-labeled products; it also includes non-GMO, Free-range, gluten free and no-added hormone products.
In his remarks, Haley told the crowd their new commissary was well worth the wait and thanked them for their patience during construction.
"I assure you it will be worth the wait," he said. "Built entirely from commissary surcharges, this new facility rewards one of the strongest markets in the DeCA industry."
That sentiment seemed to extend to the patrons as well. Ray Carter, the first customer in line, had arrived at 4 a.m., and couldn't wait to get into the new store and see all the displays.
"It's great to see them using the money we give them," he said, speaking of the surcharge. "The old building was nice but this building brings everything up to 2017 standards. It's a beautiful building and I'm looking forward to shopping here."
The new store more than doubles the sales area of the old store at 68,831 square feet. The store features extensive produce, meat, frozen, chilled and grocery departments, an international deli-bakery, a sushi-to-go station, prepared rotisserie chicken and a customer service kiosk with two check outs. The store includes 18 regular checkouts and eight self-checkouts and a stock assortment of 18,000 line items.
Cmdr. Billy Bushman, noted that thanks to the commissary's Living Well Center his wife would have more choices when it came to choosing gluten-free breads.
"My wife would shop this," said Bushman. "I'm excited that the choices for gluten-free options have been expanded. This means more options for my wife." He also noted that they can save a significant amount on their gluten-free products versus shopping outside the gate.
Shelia Fortson, whose husband is retired, drove an hour to get to NAS Jacksonville to shop the new store. "This is a privilege. I have a lot of friends who wish they had this benefit," she said.
Both Carter and Fortson said this store was more convenient than shopping outside the gate.
"The savings and convenience are what bring me back," said Carter. "They are open early in the morning and I can get the things I need. I've been doing it for years and I wouldn't change it."
Fortson also said the layout of the store was appealing. "I've shopped a lot of commissaries and this one is well-stocked," she said. "I can find what I'm looking for."
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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. Commissaries provide a military benefit and make no profit on the sale of merchandise. Authorized patrons purchase items at cost plus a 5-percent surcharge, which covers the costs of building new commissaries and modernizing existing ones. By shopping regularly in the commissary, patrons save 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