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"Commissary Club" to open at McChord Field

New Costco-like store headed to Joint Base Lewis-McChord

Large refrigerators and freezers stand ready to display club pack-sized products as the March 7 opening day approaches for the McChord Field Commissary's new warehouse shopping section. Photo credit: Janice Coleman

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The Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) is about to make the McChord Field Commissary one-of-a-kind. Starting Friday, March 7, DeCA will test its new club store format on the Air Force side at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

The new format will feature a huge, new section of the store entirely dedicated to club packs and other oversized packaged products commonly found in commercial warehouse club stores, such as Costco or Sam's Club. DeCA called the new store format a "Commissary Club."  

"Many customers have noticed the construction going on at the back of the store," said Janice Coleman, McChord Field Commissary Store director. "We've been renovating a 10,000-square-foot area of the warehouse, and the Commissary Club will be ready for our customers to shop on March 7."

While the addition is definitely new territory on the grocery front, normal commissary operations will remain the same. Shoppers will still have access to all of the regular and/or standard-sized products as they always have.

New freezers have been installed, as well as refrigerators and racks for jumbo-sized packages of everything from meat, produce and dairy to center-of-the-store type groceries and supplies. In fact, nearly every product category sold in the traditional part of the store will be available in jumbo size in the club area.

"The Commissary Club model offers patrons club store and traditional grocery store shopping under one roof. And the only membership card customers need is their military ID," said Bruce Dubisar, project manager for DeCA's club store concept.

DeCA will evaluate the new format's operations and customer acceptance of the Commissary Club model over a period of time, but because it is a concept-test limited to one store, officials are want local shoppers know that there are no plans to change the format of the Lewis Main Commissary just yet.

"We're looking forward to hearing from our patrons on this new store experience at McChord Field," he continued. "Their feedback is invaluable as we strive to deliver a relevant 21st century commissary benefit."

DeCA operates a worldwide chain of commissaries providing groceries to military personnel, retirees and their families at cost - plus a five percent surcharge of the total purchase. According to DeCA officials, shopping regularly in the commissary will save customers an average of 30 percent or more on their purchases when compared to commercial prices.

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