FORT RUCKER, Ala. (June 20, 2013) -- As sequestration continues to move across America's military installations, many programs and businesses are seeing changes, one business being the commissaries that employ more than 14,000 U.S. civilians.

During the furlough period, which is July 8 through September 30, the Fort Rucker commissary will be closed both Mondays and Tuesdays, said Terry W. Ford, store director.

"Our store hours will remain the same as they are, but we will only be open five days a week (Wednesday-Sunday)," he said.

The Defense Commissary Agency has prepared a plan to minimize the impact of sequestration on its patrons and employees of its more than 240 commissaries across the globe, said Joseph H. Jeu, DeCA's director and CEO.

"As with any budget-cutting measure, DeCA is committed to doing everything possible to minimize the impact of any budget decisions on its patrons," he said. "We should be able to handle normal operating days. However, we will still be challenged on busy Saturdays and paydays."

Other than the furlough day, there are no other changes planned for store operation that will affect customer service and Ford promises that the Fort Rucker commissary will continue to serve its patrons with great product and excellent service.

"The commissary is the best benefit that will allow Soldiers and their Families to extend their finances further due to the savings they get for shopping at their local commissary, which will be a key element for many Families during the furlough period," he said.

Commissary customers can find out about changes to the store's operating schedule by going to www.commissaries.com, clicking on the "Locations" tab, then "Alphabetical Listing," finding the Fort Rucker store and clicking on "local store information."

DeCA wants to reassure the community that the health and safety of its patrons is a top priority.

"Medical food inspectors from the U.S. Army Public Health Command and U.S. Air Force Public Health work right in many of our commissaries," said the DeCA CEO. "Most of the military medical food inspectors supporting commissary in-store inspections are military personnel and are not affected by any government furloughs."

In addition to these military food inspectors, civilian food inspectors from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service will also not be subject to furlough and are often working in commissaries, he added.

Like any retail operation, commissaries are subject to potential marketplace price and supply fluctuations. However, patrons will be able to find the same selection of products at their store whenever their store is open, continued Jeu.

"Prices will not be raised," he said. "Commissaries are required by law to sell products at cost plus the 5-percent surcharge. Because the commissary does not make a profit on the products it sells, it cannot raise prices to compensate for operating costs."

Special sales promotions and other events offered by DeCA's industry partners will also continue through sequestration.

"Patrons … can always find out about the extra savings offered through commissary specials, promotions and sales by clicking on the "Exclusive Savings" link on the DeCA homepage, www.commissaries.com," said Jeu.

Patrons are reminded that because sequestration is so fluid, DeCA's plan for this budget-cutting measure is subject to change.

"We are in this together," Jeu said, "and though limited in our ability by circumstances we cannot control, I assure you we will do all we can to mitigate the impact of sequestration on our patrons, employees and industry partners, and on our mission."

Patrons who shop their commissary regularly for all or nearly all of their grocery needs save 30 percent or more annually on their grocery bill when compared to a commercial store for the same array of products, according to DeCA.

Page last updated Thu June 20th, 2013 at 00:00