On June 14, aligning with the Army’s 246th birthday, Col. Joseph R. Kurz, chief of staff, 1st Theater Sustainment Command, presided over a ceremony to officially open a new micro market in the 1st TSC’s Fowler Hall headquarters building on Fort Knox, Kentucky.
Soldiers and Civilians who work in the building will be able to buy fruits, vegetables, salads, sandwiches, and microwavable meals. There will also be juices, waters, and a selection of soda in some of the machines. Certain candy bars, chips, and beef jerky will also be available for purchase.
CW3 Denise Long, food advisor, 1st TSC, coordinated the installation of the new micro market in the headquarters building. Kurz recognized Long’s work, along with that of Master Sgt. Humberto Lopez, acting G4 sergeant major, 1st TSC. Both Soldiers were integral in seeing the project come to fruition.
Long described the moment of inspiration that started the wheels turning and sparked the initial idea for the 1st TSC, “Several months ago we went on a site visit to Joint Base Lewis-McCord in Washington State and Lt. Col. Chris Rozhon, G4, 1st TSC, saw the micro markets there and wanted to launch something similar here in the building.”
The new offering boasts five refrigerated micro market machines that are located in the hallway adjacent to the 1st TSC, Special Troops Battalion conference room, located on the first floor of Fowler Hall. “These foods will be a great option for people who work 24-hour shifts, miss lunch, or just need a snack or even a meal,” Long said. “There will definitely be some healthier options too.”
“Soldiers and civilians don’t have to leave the building if they don’t want to, or can’t,” Long said.
“Food prices are affordable, and in fitting with the up tempo of the 1st TSC,” she concluded.
Soldiers working in the building have been talking about the micro market, and how they’ll probably buy lunch sometime or snacks.
Spc. Mathew Cronshaw, postal operations division specialist, 1st TSC, said, “I think it’s a good idea to have healthy snacks inside, because it can take up to 15 minutes to run to the shoppette to grab a snack.”
Spc. Trevor Gilbert, postal operations division specialist, 1st TSC, said that it’s super convenient to have the mini mart right around the corner from his desk. “I’m more likely to eat something healthy if it’s right here,” he said.
Another Soldier who works near the new micro market, Spc. Jaamal Parker, postal operations division specialist, 1st TSC, likes fruit and bagels. “We come in real early, so this will be nice,” he said. “I’ll probably buy fruit or a sandwich sometime.”
The micro-market is a relatively new concept that partners units with their local Army and Air Force Exchange Service in offering food items to Soldiers at their workplace.
“We only paid for the installation of the electrical wiring for the machines,” Long explained. “AAFES will stock the micro market, which will also have 24-hour surveillance in the self-serve and self-pay machines.
There is a central payment station where you scan your selection and pay. Several cameras monitor the entire area to discourage dishonesty. Payment is required at time of purchase. Cash and credit are accepted. However, cash can only be used after you set up an account. The payment process and account set-up instructions are prominently posted near the payment station.
You are then given an option to create an account with either scan identification or finger print option. Customers are able to use any card that has a barcode. You can use your Kroger grocery store card or even a gas card. You do not have to use a driver’s license.
Users then create a four-digit personal identification number, entering their name and email, and funding their new account using either cash or card. Paying with debit/credit card is the only way to pay if you want to make a purchase without creating an account.
One common theme that was mentioned by several of the market’s early customers is that it combines convenience with healthy options, allowing Soldiers and Civilians to maximize the time of their lunch breaks without having to drive anywhere for fast food.