Commissary renovation to increase efficiency, create better shopping experience

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FORT IRWIN Calif. — An 11-month renovation of the post commissary is currently underway, with big changes and improvements planned for shoppers. The major changes include: installation of new refrigeration cases; upgrade of all refrigeration cases to more energy-efficient models, consolidation of the bakery and deli, expansion of the sushi section and a general reorganization of products.

“We’re aiming for better, not bigger,” said Commissary Director Eugene Davis, who went on to say that the goal of the renovation is to make the shopping experience better for customers.

The renovation is scheduled for 11 months, during which time the store will remain open and serving customers. Some products and services will be shifted and moved temporarily as work progresses.

“A lot of the work that’s gone on, you can’t see,” said Eric Crowder, safety manager for Summit Construction, Inc., the general contractor for the project. New refrigeration lines have been installed in the ceiling, which will be connected to the new, more energy-efficient refrigerated cases. Equipment has been upgraded and new equipment installed. Crowder went on to explain that there is a major focus on safety, both for the construction crews who work at night and the customers who shop during the day.

“We are a grocery store undergoing renovation, not a construction project selling groceries,” said Davis. “We will always strive to have the minimum impact on our customers during this project.” According to Davis, the project cost is $8.3 million, which comes from surcharge fees collected worldwide, and the renovation should be completed at Christmas.

“We are adding another whole aisle of chill (refrigerated cases),” Davis said, “which will expand our prepared food selection.” The additional cases will allow the store to carry more products and to arrange them in a more efficient flow. In addition to the new cases, existing cases throughout the store will be upgraded to more energy-efficient models.

A major part of the renovation will be the combination of the deli and bakery sections, locating both in the current bakery location. Deli/Bakery Manager Jill Lloyd explained that the staff is currently divided between the two areas, and consolidating the services will be more efficient and allow more staff to serve customers, especially during the lunch-time rush. “It’s going to be awesome once we’re combined,” said Lloyd.

“The deli sandwiches are the number-one seller in the store,” said Davis, explaining that in the long-run, the renovation will greatly improve a customer’s deli experience and expedite the ordering process. While construction progresses, the deli counter will be temporarily located in the “clearance-corner” area of the commissary annex.

The sushi counter is another popular area of the store. The current location, which is quite small, will be expanded and moved around the corner, into the produce section where plants are currently located.

While products will shift during construction, the goal upon completion is to have a store that is well organized, efficient and provides a positive shopping experience for customers. “We are removing products that don’t sell, replacing them with new products that will better serve our customer,” Davis said. One of the first sections to be affected will be water, with expanded shelf space for the high-sales-volume item. The commissary is also looking to expand their healthy and organic product offerings.

The commissary is located at 3920 Inner Loop Road, Bldg. 92, and is open from 9:00 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10:30 a.m. 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

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