FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- While the commissary has not experienced a shortage of traditional holiday food items, the Defense Commissary Agency directed stores to place purchase limitations on cleaning products Nov. 20 in anticipation of possible shortages.
Customers are limited to buying two packages of the following products: paper towels, toilet paper, napkins, facial tissue, paper plates, household cleaners and disinfectants, sanitizers and dish soap, according to Marisol Hennessey, Fort Rucker Commissary store director, who added that the limitations will stay in place until further guidance is provided or the direction has been rescinded.
DECA officials said commissaries are well stocked, but they want them to be better stocked.
While some shortages do exist, related to COVID-impacted supply chains, DECA officials said they are working diligently with suppliers to remedy those shortages, utilizing all of the tools and capabilities available to them to ensure military patrons have shelves full of what they need over the holidays.
DECA leadership continues to work very closely with its industry partners to ensure that the military resale system is getting as much of the available products as possible, and continues working with suppliers on one-time buy and alternate items to help supplement regularly stocked items that may not be available, according to officials.
With regards to the forecast of products, DECA and its third-party distributors work closely with the suppliers on the availability of products. Suppliers have indicated that the military channel will continue to receive its fair share of the items based on availability and past consumption, officials said.
Thus far, DECA has been receiving the key items for patrons’ holiday meals, officials said, adding that spices continue to be on allocation from the supplier and it has been a challenge for the commissaries to acquire enough product to meet demand.
One customer happy with the local commissary’s efforts is Col. Whitney B. Gardner, Fort Rucker garrison commander.
“I think the management and the employees over there are top notch – they go above and beyond to serve the customers,” he said. “They’ve been working through some challenging circumstances of late, including supply distribution challenges and even some mechanical faults that shut down some of their coolers recently.
“I’ve been impressed with how patient our patrons are at the commissary, and very impressed with how open management’s been by providing messages and updates,” Gardner added. “You can tell they really care about their customers -- they take feedback and they make changes. They listen.”
Hennessey asked for continued understanding and patience with the restrictions being enacted, or with shortages that may arise while they work with suppliers to remedy the supply flow to the store.
"My team and I have been very dedicated to the mission of ensuring our customers' needs are provided for," she said. "Many employees have been willing to go above and beyond, including working outside the scope of their normal duties or days off to support one another and our customers.
"Our staff has remained positive and pleasant from the very beginning, despite going through the same problems and stresses as everyone else is going through," Hennessey added. "We all need to remind ourselves to treat each other with respect and empathy to get through these tough times together."