It has been two and a half years in the making, but the Military Family Support Center in Cobb County, Ga., opened its doors last month.
This is the first public-private partnership like this in the United States. It is a combined effort created with the Cobb County Chamber of Commerce, the Defense Commissary Agency, the Georgia Department of Defense and Dobbins Air Reserve Base and its joint partners to bring commissary benefits to military families.
There are more than 50,000 veterans living in Cobb County. The Military Family Support Center will provide retired veterans, active duty and their families access to a military benefit that many who live close to a commissary take for granted.
Though this Military Family Support Center is not a commissary – it will act as a pop-up commissary.
Its doors will open 3 days a month providing roughly 1,000 items such as: fresh meat, fresh produce, chilled and frozen items along with dry goods.
There is a large population of National Guard and Reserve members for which this Military Family Support Center was designed for, but anyone who has commissary privileges may shop at there as long as they show a military ID card.
It is a long drive to the nearest commissary, so bringing a similar commissary benefit close to home for so many people is a welcome sight. The Military Family Support Center is located just outside of Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta, Ga.
The commissary offers items at cost plus 5 percent, which can save a family on average 30 percent or more over shopping at a civilian grocery store.
For those living in Cobb County however, it isn’t convenient to make a full day trip to a commissary. The closest commissary is at Fort Benning, which is 130 miles from Marietta.
Though the Military Family Support Center will only be open 3 days a month, it is a benefit many will welcome.
This is the first Military Family Support Center served by the Defense Commissary Agency. The land it sits on is leased by the Cobb Chamber and its partners and the Guard/Reserve on-site sales are run by the commissary.
The groups have come together to bring back the commissary benefit to the greater Atlanta area. Fort Gillem and Fort McPherson did at one time have full commissaries, but both posts were closed as part of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process.
The Military Family Support Center will offer more than just great grocery savings one weekend a month. There will also be other services available at that time. While these services may change, the Military Support Center has scheduled things such as the WellStar physicians and their medical professionals to come out and perform health screenings and offer consultations. The Georgia Department of Driver Services will be available in their mobile unit for any Georgia license holders that need to renew or replace their ID. The Georgia Veterans Administration is also expected to be available to answer general VA questions. More services may be available in the future as well.
If you are in the area, mark your calendars for the following dates the Military Family Support Center will have on-site sales:
- June 16-18
- July 14-16
- August 18-20
- September 15-17
- October 20-22
- November 17-19
- December 15-17
This off-base commissary’s operating hours are Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Fridays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Saturdays 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. once a month.