By Wallace McBride, Fort Jackson LeaderMay 15, 2014
FORT JACKSON, S.C.(May 15, 2014) -- Fort Jackson's Commissary had to do more with less in 2013, thanks to budget shortfalls and mandatory furloughs. These challenges apparently had little impact on customer satisfaction, though. When the Defense Commissary Agency awards were announced last week, the Commissary was honored with a second-place spot in the Bill Nichols Award for the Best Large Commissary in the United States.
Naval Station Mayport in Jacksonville, Florida, received the first place award.
"We're extremely happy," said Bernard Ellison, store director for Fort Jackson's Commissary. "Most of the time we get positive feedback from customers that they're happy with the service the Commissary provides. Last year, we were a runner-up for the award."
The DeCA Best Commissary Awards recognize overall excellence in operations and service in military commissaries worldwide.
"We are very proud of Mr. Ellison and the entire Commissary team at Fort Jackson," said Col. Michael Graese, Fort Jackson garrison commander. "This award demonstrates DeCA's recognition of what Team Jackson experiences on a daily basis. Mr. Ellison and his team are always focused on ways to make the shopping experience for our Soldiers, family members and retirees the best in the world. Even with the significant resource challenges of the last year, the Fort Jackson Commissary team never wavered from pursuing excellence."
Ellison said surveys were conducted at the Commissary as part of the competition, with customers answering various questions about the store using an iPad application. Customers were asked about prices, inventory and service quality for the Commissary's various departments, Ellison said.
"Achieving this honor has never been easy," said DeCA director and CEO Joseph Jeu. "To win, a store has to exceed our normal criteria for customer service, accountability, safety, operations and sales. But for 2013, it seemed like every challenge possible impacted commissaries, including furlough, budget cuts, hiring freezes and customers stressed by the government shutdown."
Ellison said there are plans to renovate the Commissary building in 2015. The project still awaits funding, and no start date has been set, but Ellison said he is hopeful the project will gain traction. He said the Commissary would remain open throughout the renovation period.