Fort Stewart business manager takes pride in shop, job
June 3, 2010
<b>FORT STEWART, Ga. </b>- While many Family Members may be coming to terms with move number one or two in following their active duty Soldier from one military installation to another, it is a mastered art for a Family Member on PCS move number 33.....and getting ready for number 34.
Jamie Nicholas, the outgoing Shop of the Marne business manager, began her moving experience when she was six-weeks old and the movements of her now retired Field Artillery father, Chief Warrant Officer Dale Wiggins.
Jamie followed her father's footsteps and joined the Army the same night she graduated from West Monroe, La. High School. With the exception of a tour in Korea, she spent all of her eight years in the District of Columbia area working as an administrative assistant and general officer's aid. But she still got to travel all over the world with the general officer of assignment.
While office manager at a design company, she met a young lieutenant stationed with the Old Guard and they were married in 1998. After a two-week honeymoon, Jamie was singing the Willie Nelson song of "On the Road Again," with yet another PCS move.
When it comes to talking about the Shop of the Marne, Jamie opens up with much enlightenment to those who may not be aware of this multi-faceted shop located at 190 Stockton Circle on Fort Stewart.
"Shop of the Marne was established June 1, 2006," she begins. "It was formerly the Ways and Means table at the Officer Spouses Club functions. The idea began to expand and make it more of a gift shop and more accessible to all people in the area, not just those who go to the luncheons."
After the building was donated, Laura Fleming became the first manager. Jamie now sits in the position as the fourth business manager.
The merchandise in the shop can come from both local and long distance consignors. Other parts of their merchandise come from the wholesale market, since the shop does have a wholesale license also.
"We want all our items to be special and unique," said Jaime. That's why many of them are handcrafted.
"The whole purpose of the shop was to allow Army wives to show their talents," she added. But anyone can be a consigner at the Shop of the Marne. Items stay on consignment for a 90-day period. ased upon several things, such as the price being right and having a good business relationship with the shop, the consigner may continue with the shop on a one-year contract.
It sounds good, but not everyone gets to be on consignment. Jamie explained that a person can be disapproved due to limited space or designer integrity. The latter may be due to several persons doing the same craft or the item being fragile, tarnishing or bleeding.
"Plus we have to keep in consideration that we cannot compete with any AAFES stores," she said.
"All proceeds go to the scholarship and welfare fund," said Jamie. Nearly $20,000 was given out this year alone in all welfare and hospitality funds.
When asked about the welfare fund was, Jamie explained that it is set aside for military Families who need assistance.
"A lot of people request welfare funds for different reason, so the OSC has their own membership chair committee that monitors those requests. Some of the money goes to the ones that were voted upon, some to local charities, and then there is that money that goes towards scholarships."
The shop is a great community outreach program, according to Jamie.
"The shop really opens up the gap to the community. It's really hard to be a transient wife so this gives them the opportunity to volunteer here in the shop."
As long as you can get on post, you can shop at the Shop of the Marne. The shop is even available for special events, such as meetings, showers, and coffees. With a $15 reservation fee, and your group of 25 people or less, the shop will provide tables and chairs and even remain open for business so you can shop when done. The preference is that your event be held after hours.
When not at the shop, the West Monroe, La., native spends as much time with her children doing domestic things.
"I have been at Fort Stewart for two years and during that time I have been a parent volunteer and active with the 2nd Brigade working with the Cormier Family," said Jamie.
She and her husband Kevin, along with children Lyndsey Paige and Logan Todd, will be making another move to the Philadelphia in the coming months.
"I have been doing this for 38 years, and I am looking forward to it," Jamie said.
The Shop of the Marne is now open Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and the first Saturday of the month, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more information on consignment, bookings for meetings, or any other general information, call 912-767-9268 or visit the Web site thesteelmagnolia.org.