Chief Master Sgt. Tony Pearson, senior enlisted advisor for the Army and Air Force Exchange Service, visited here Sept. 12, to tour the Exchange, meet with Team March personnel and address Exchange-related issues.
Exchange sales generate earnings to supplement Air Force Services programs, as well as Army Morale, Welfare and Recreation activities.
“For every dollar earned, 67 cents comes back to the military community from the MWR dividend,” Pearson said. “Last year, March Services activities got back more than $362,000 — so shopping at Exchange is a win-win situation. You get great products at a great price and your spent money comes back to the installation through the dividend.”
Joining Pearson on his March visit was Tina Lovitt, Exchange West Coast area manager. They met with customers, vendors and store associates, answering questions and concerns about the Exchange.
Part of his job as the AAFEFS senior enlisted advisor is to visit bases throughout the world and find out what the Exchange can do to better serve its customers and fix existing problems, Pearson said. But, educating Exchange customers on the benefits of shopping there is the most important part of his job, he said.
“Military clothing is the only place our troops can buy uniform items on base,” Pearson said. “Our goal is to have what they need, when they need it, so they can be outfitted properly.”
The Exchange has revamped its pricing in the children’s wear and infant’s departments to four primary price points, giving customers 40 to 50 percent or more savings over department store, brand name prices and without having to pay tax, Lovitt said.
“There’s a tremendous savings when you shop at our stores,” she said.
If there is something you are looking for that AAFES sells, but it’s not available at the March Exchange, you can request it. Through the Exchange Shuttle Program, the March store can request any item from a store that has it in stock and sell it to you when it arrives here, Lovitt said. Nothing is off limits, she added.
“The cosmetics department is our largest selling department in this store,” Lovitt said. “If there is a specific color or something you want that isn’t carried here, request it.”
“Our goal is to be your number one choice for retail shopping,” Pearson said. “You can go anywhere to purchase an iPod or a TV, but when you buy from the Exchange, that’s money going back to support our troops.”
The Exchange is a joint non-appropriated fund instrumentality of the Department of Defense with a retail mission to provide quality products services and food to servicemembers, their families, Reserve and Guard members, plus military retirees.
Pearson is one of 72 active duty servicemembers assigned to the Exchange to carry out this mission; the Exchange also employs more than 42,000 civilian associates world-wide.
For more information about Exchange and its programs, visit www.shopmyexchange.com
(Lisa Neidinger, AAFES public affairs contributed to this story)