FORT BRAGG, N.C. - In past years, defense commissaries were open every day of the week, except Sundays and Monday, because workers were unable to take off on Saturdays as it was a prime grocery shopping day.

For the Fort Bragg community, Defense Commissary Agency offers an added convenience as both of the post's commissaries are now open seven days a week.

The decision to open an extra day was made months ago by the Fort Bragg senior leadership and commissary officials.

Jerry Hamilton, North Post commissary director, said the decision was made in November at the suggestion of Lt. Gen. Frank G. Helmick, XVIII Airborne Corps commanding general. He said Col. Stephen Sicinski, the garrison commander had asked numerous times before that.
"One thing led to another and here we are at seven days," Hamilton said. He added that the decision was made as a benefit to the community.

"The commissary's main focus is the Soldiers and retirees," Hamilton said. "So for us, it's just another element of bringing the valuable benefits to the Soldiers and the rest of the community. Being open seven days a week allows us to add to that benefit."

Hamilton said Jan. 24, marked the first day of his commissary's new operating hours and he has noticed a gradual increase in sales as the community continues to adjust to the new hours.
"The first Monday that we were open, it was kind of slow as we did about $61,000," explained Hamilton, who has served as the North Post commissary's director since August 2010. "Then, during the second Monday, we did $161,000 as the word spread about our new hours."

He added that it's really too early to tell how the new hours are going to affect sales at the commissary because while remaining open on Mondays allows shoppers an extra day, it also takes away from sales on the normal days of Tuesday and Wednesday.

"It's too early to tell what we're going to be doing on Mondays and what's going to be a stable figure, but I project that we will probably pickup another $100,000 on Mondays as we sell out a little more and business continues to spread. It will increase the sales here and I think that as the Soldiers get in from the Fort McPherson, Georgia, it will pick up even more."

Hamilton explained that it's not just the North Post commissary that has added an extra day. The South Post commissary is also open on Mondays.

"Both of them are open on Monday and we have the same identical hours, which are from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. for early-bird shoppers and from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m., Monday through Saturday," he said. "We're also open on Sundays from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m."

Hamilton said he thinks that adding an additional day allows the commissaries to broaden their service to the community.

"For us it's an additional day and it's a challenge, but as far as delivering the number one benefit to the community, I think it's a step in the right direction and it allows us to bring more benefits to the Soldiers. It's working and I'm glad we've added an extra day."

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