After a change in Department of Defense policy, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service officially opened its doors to DOD and Coast Guard civilian employees at Fort Stewart Consolidated Exchange, May 1. The DOD announced the policy change April 29. Access to ShopMyExchange.com will start later this year.
Opening exchange access to DOD and Coast Guard civilian employees working on installations will improve dividends to Quality-of-Life programs, leverage the military exchanges’ buying power and strengthen the Exchange benefit for Soldiers, Airmen and Guardians—past, present and future.
“Shopping the Exchange brings convenience to civilians working on installations,” said Exchange Director and CEO Tom Shull. “They can stop by the Exchange for essentials on breaks or to and from work instead of shopping outside of the gate—and 100% of Exchange earnings go right back to the military community.”
Tax-free shopping is authorized for active DOD and Coast Guard appropriated fund and non-appropriated civilian employees in the United States and the U.S. territories and possessions. Retired DOD and Coast Guard civilian employees will have access to on-line exchange shopping later this year. Roughly 575,000 civilian stateside employees will gain the benefit.
“The Fort Stewart Consolidated Exchange is proud to welcome our Department of Defense civilian counterparts into our Main Exchange on Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield,” said Hollie Heft Morales, general manager for the Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield Consolidated Exchange. “This expanded privilege adds an element of convenience to them here on base where they spend so much of their time.”
The Exchange, the DOD’s largest retailer and the 61st largest retailer in the United States, has served Warfighters since 1895. The Exchange offers tax-free shopping and military-exclusive pricing. Exchange earnings support Soldiers, Airmen, Guardians and their families. Roughly 60% of earnings support Quality-of-Life programs on military installations worldwide. In the last 10 years, the Exchange has contributed $2.2 billion to Child, Youth and School Services; Armed Forces Recreation Centers; and other programs to support troops and their Families. All remaining earnings are reinvested in enhancing the customer shopping experience.
The privilege expansion marks the third time since 2017 that the Exchange’s shopping base has grown. In January 2020, all Veterans with service-connected disabilities were welcomed back to the installation to shop in person. On Veterans Day 2017, all honorably discharged Veterans were welcomed home to shop tax free at ShopMyExchange.com.
For more information on the new benefit, visit the Exchange’s online community Hub at publicaffairs-sme.com/Community/.
Editor’s Note: Molly Cooke contributed to this story.