New Commissary opens doors at Brunssum
By Naomi van Loon, USAG Benelux Public AffairsJuly 30, 2020
BRUNSSUM, Netherlands – The U.S. Army Garrison Benelux community celebrated the grand opening of a new Commissary at the garrison’s Brunssum Site July 29, 2020.The grand opening marked the completion of an 18-month process, which saw the transformation of an old maintenance and repair shop to a modern shopping facility – as well the final step in the Garrison’s relocation from Schinnen to Brunssum; the Schinnen commissary closed its doors July 27 after 39 years in service.A limited number of distinguished guests and patrons attended the event, which was held outside in accordance with COVID-19 preventive measures.The Brunssum commissary features all the usual amenities, including full service deli and bakery departments. It has more than 16,000 square feet of sales area – significantly larger than the Schinnen commissary – with wider aisles and an expanded product selection throughout the store.“It’s a big change, this store is very nice. When I was on the floor today, everybody was excited about the assortment,” Store Director Darlene Coaxum said. “We’re excited about opening the store here in Brunssum, closer to JFC and Geilenkirchen. Because we’re here for the military community, who we proudly serve.”The new commissary further incorporates sustainable and energy-saving design features to meet Federal energy mandates. It is the second new commissary to incorporate a carbon dioxide refrigeration system that reduces energy costs and the agency’s carbon footprint.But commissaries are about more than just buildings, said Norman Brown, director of the Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) Europe.“They bring a taste of home and community wherever military personnel and their Families are stationed around the world,” he said.As well as praising the new structure, Col. James Yastrzemsky, USAG Benelux commander, expressed his appreciation for the hard work and determination of the people working at DeCA – especially during the COVID crisis.“Hard-working people is what today is all about,” said Yastrzemsky, “people who do work daily without seeking spotlight or reward, but take great pride in putting in an honest day of work.”Several distinguished guests attended the event, including Pete Hoekstra, U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands; Maj. Gen. Carl Alex, deputy chief of staff operations for Allied Joint Forces Command Brunssum; Air Force Brig. Gen. Charles B. McDaniels, commander of the NATO Airborne Early Warning and Control Force E-3A Component, Geilenkirchen Air Base, Germany; and more.