<b>REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala.</b> - The new SMDC/AIB (Space and Missile Defense Command/Alabama Industries for the Blind) Satellite Supply Store had its grand opening July 27 in building 5221 of the Von Braun Complex here.

Billy Sparkman, executive director for AIB, welcomed attendees and thanked everyone for their support before turning the event over to Col. Daniel J. Shanahan, USASMDC/ARSTRAT chief of staff.

Shanahan also thanked everyone for attending the grand opening.

"This is an important partnership that will last for many years," said Shanahan. "I'm hoping this satellite store can serve as a model for other agencies on post to provide these services that AIB has to offer," said Shanahan.

Following Sparkman's and Shanahan's remarks, the opening of the store was made official with a ribbon-cutting.

Lt. Col. Tracy Brown, deputy chief of staff, G4, worked with AIB to establish the SMDC/AIB Satellite Supply Store, which is the only satellite store on post at this time.

This satellite store is very similar to the Base Supply Store but on a smaller scale. Employees can browse the store for supplies and purchase them on site using a government purchase card. The sales associate can assist with special order items and in getting additional items stocked if necessary.

Deborah Hollingsworth, manager of Base Supply said the SMDC/AIB Satellite Supply Store as well as the Base Supply Store are operated by AIB, which is part of the AblilityOne Program. This program provides jobs for Americans who are blind or have other severe disabilities, enabling them to lead more independent lives.

Additionally, Hollingsworth said, "We carry products called Skilcraft, and those products are made or packaged by blind or severally disabled people."

The satellite store is not limited to USASMDC/ARSTRAT employees; however, customers must have access to building 5220 to shop there. Brown said the purpose behind the satellite store was to save the government time and money.

"Employees were taking their privately owned vehicles to the Base Supply Store, and it was taking them away from their offices for quite a bit of time," said Brown. "Now it's conveniently located for them to just walk downstairs and make their purchases."

The store will be operated by one clerk - Donna Moore - with a backup on standby. The satellite store will be open to customers Mondays through Fridays from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m. The phone number is (256) 955-3220.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16