After undergoing $17.7 million worth of renovations two years ago, the Fort Drum Commissary is finally receiving the recognition it deserves.
This week, during an awards presentation in Norfolk, Va., the Fort Drum Commissary will be presented a Fiscal Year 2010 Defense Commissary Agency East Excellence Award for Departments in the large store category for its grocery, meat and customer service departments.
The 100 stores that make up the DeCA East region are broken down into four categories: Small, Med-ium, Large and Super. Fort Drum’s Commissary is considered a “large” store because its sales are less than $35 million per year.
To determine award recipients, DeCA raters look at a matrix of areas, such as complaints / feedback from customers, operational aspects, and cleanliness / attractiveness of store. Agency representatives visit the Fort Drum Com- missary throughout the year and gather data that goes toward rating the store.
Stores are also given a “tolerance” that they’re supposed to maintain, and all four departments at the Fort Drum Commissary – grocery, meat, produce and front end / customer service – were able to stay within the tolerance given.
“Because we’re appropriated, we cannot have a loss or a big gain in our inventory,” explained Bob Smith, Fort Drum Commissary store director.
The Fort Drum Commissary is also being recognized with Sales Increase awards for its grocery, produce and meat departments.
According to Smith, the commissary had the highest percentage of large store sales increase, about 16 percent, in grocery, meat and produce, from last year. He noted that this increase occurred during a period that many troops were deployed, which he believes makes the recognition that much more impressive.
“I think one of the factors that added to the increase (sales) was the (state of the) economy,” Smith said.
“We also have something that most stores downtown don’t have: everyday inspectors,” he added, noting that noncommissioned officers and officers inspect the commissary daily.
Although this is a mandatory measure taken at other commissaries, Smith believes this attention to detail is one of the reasons the Fort Drum Commissary is so successful and, in turn, received top ratings.
He also noted another aspect that helps makes the commissary thrive is that staff members are constantly planning for the future by studying the “fast-moving” or trending items at the store.
For example, they recently added eight feet of aisle space to the cereal section, because trends reflected an increase in cereal sales. Smith said they’re already planning for the return of all brigades next spring.
“We want to be ready to meet that demand,” he added.
“The competition was tough, making this recognition truly deserved,” said Rogers Campbell, DeCA East director, in an e-mail announcing the award recipients.
Although it’s not the first time the commissary has received this recognition, it’s been about 10 years since the staff has been recognized for this award, Smith said.
“We’re very honored to be the recipients of these awards,” he added.