JOINT BASE MYER-HENDERSON HALL, Va. - Customers come first and always for new Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Commissary Director Raymond Lane.

"Our climate here, it's about 95 percent retirees who shop at Fort Myer, so we have a unique group," he said. "My job is trying to get everything we possibly can to serve that customer, to make sure that it's like one-stop shopping."

The Washington, D.C., native added, "our vision is to understand our customers and deliver the 21st century commissary benefit."

Lane spent more than four decades at nearby Fort Belvoir before moving to the joint base Sept. 8. He and his wife Olivia have three daughters.

"I worked at the [Fort Belvoir] Officers Club for 10 years," he said. "From the [Fort Belvoir] Officers Club, I became involved with the commissary system."

Lane said he will bring "some of the knowledge, some of the things I've learned throughout the years to [the joint base] to enhance and increase sales and satisfy the customers on the needs."

Some of the changes that Lane is bringing to the commissary are already readily apparent. Aisles have been cleared and the store is being opened up to give customers a better shopping experience.

Items that are being phased out will be sold at a 50 percent discount.
"We're setting up an area just for that," he explained. "There's nothing wrong with the product, it has just become a slow mover. That's a savings for the retirees we have here."

The produce aisle is also being opened up.

"We're trying to get a variety of different produce items, we're trying to get more Latino items," he said. "We just brought in the deli/bakery a Filipino line. That's big. That went over really well."

Lane said case lot sales are not currently being offered due to budget limitations.

"We are doing weekly sidewalk sales and we have tremendous savings on the most important items to our customers, the paper towels, the toilet paper. We give great deals on that to pass the savings on to the customer."

Lane added that the Defense Commissary Agency, or DeCA, which oversees military food stores throughout the world, has authorized the filling of all positions at the facility.

"By December, we should be 100 percent hired," he said. "We have a great team, everyone works together. It's more of a family-type in this store, and I'm glad to be part of that family. We smile, we talk; we greet the customers."