There are new and improved commissaries on the way, thanks to shoppers like you.
Your commissary surcharge dollars are hard at work providing the funds needed to build new infrastructure and modernize facilities to provide a better shopping experience for military beneficiaries around the world.
Did you know what the surcharge at the bottom of your receipt is for and the power that it carried for improvements?
The commissary surcharge is not a tax. Many people mistakenly think so, but unlike taxes where money could be distributed in many areas, the commissary surcharge can only be used to build new commissaries or to modernize and maintain the commissary facilities and equipment. Each time you make a purchase at your local commissary, feel good knowing that surcharge will lead to real improvements beneficiaries such as yourself can see in the future.
All commissaries charge a 5 percent surcharge. Perhaps you never noticed the surcharge at the bottom of your receipt. It isn’t something new. In fact, the first surcharge was put into place all the way back in 1879. It varied a bit over time but in 1983 it was set at 5 percent, and remains that way today.
Why do we have to pay a surcharge though?
The government decided that the commissary should be more self-sufficient, and rely less on it for funds. The commissary therefore charges consumers only the cost of the product it sells plus the 5 percent surcharge in order to cover the cost of maintaining and updating their equipment and facilities. Their research has shown that military beneficiaries that shop at the commissary save on average 30 percent over using a commercial grocery store. This takes into account the cost of items and the 5 percent surcharge.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Defense Commissary Agency as well as the 150th anniversary of the commissary benefit. It all began on July 1, 1867, when service members stationed across the country were able to buy food at cost for the first time.
The long tradition continues and a great way to celebrate these landmarks is with a new commissary or better yet – 3.
There are 3 commissaries slated to open this year beginning with Spangdahlem Air Base commissary in Germany this month at a cost of $26 million. Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Fla., will open its doors to shoppers this summer thanks to $36 million in surcharge dollars. The Fort Belvoir commissary in Virginia is expected to open early next year after spending $38 million. All of these commissaries were built using surcharge dollars.
Construction began in March of 2014 on the commissary at Spangdahlem Air Base. The 7,500 service members, civilians and family members at this mobility hub in the country’s Eifel region will be in for a treat after a long awaited grand opening of their 54,000-square-foot commissary.
There are significant improvements over the current store, which opened in 1985. More space has been added, the aisles are wider, it has been outfitted with modern décor and a larger selection of items will be offered. The number of checkout counters will increase from the current 8 to 13.
Naval Air Station Jacksonville is putting commissary surcharge dollars to good use with a 115,000-square-foot commissary, up from its current 88,000 square feet. This includes a covered drive through for patrons to use when picking up groceries ordered online.
It will also have a raised ceiling, wider aisles, an expanded chill and frozen section and the décor will be modernized. The seafood shop will be larger and the bakery and deli area will be expanded allowing for new items to be sold. This again is all thanks to commissary surcharge dollars.
I am most excited about the $28 million commissary coming to Fort Belvoir. In recent years, Ft. Belvoir has grown by 115,000 people. This new commissary will be able to accommodate the growing population.
The commissary will be constructed to LEED Silver standards, meaning it would utilize sustainable strategies such as using innovative energy conserving techniques. This upgraded facility will offer a wider range of products in a modern setting that is more family friendly with wider aisles and easier access.
There are many great upgrades coming to commissaries across the globe thanks to commissary surcharge dollars.