Commissaries aim to increase convenience, revenue with extended hours

By Sean Kimmons, U.S. Army Garrison Japan Public AffairsDecember 13, 2022

James Keller, chief of the 78th Signal Battalion's Desktop Support Branch, scans grocery items with an upgraded self-checkout register at the Camp Zama commissary in Japan, March 22, 2022. Starting early January 2023, the Camp Zama and Sagamihara Family Housing Area commissaries will extend their operating hours to offer customers more convenience when grocery shopping.
James Keller, chief of the 78th Signal Battalion's Desktop Support Branch, scans grocery items with an upgraded self-checkout register at the Camp Zama commissary in Japan, March 22, 2022. Starting early January 2023, the Camp Zama and Sagamihara Family Housing Area commissaries will extend their operating hours to offer customers more convenience when grocery shopping. (Photo Credit: Sean Kimmons) VIEW ORIGINAL

CAMP ZAMA, Japan – Starting next month, the Camp Zama and Sagamihara Family Housing Area commissaries will extend their operating hours to offer more convenience to customers when grocery shopping.

The new hours will include opening times as early as 8 a.m. and designated hours where customers can only use self-checkout machines. The Camp Zama commissary will also be open seven days a week.

The upcoming changes follow a recent pilot program at the Sagamihara commissary that provided customers an extra hour to shop until 8 p.m.

Totolua Ripley, director of both stores, said the results revealed the store at Sagamihara only saw 3% of its business from 7-8 p.m., while the first hour of opening from 10-11 a.m. saw more than double that amount at 7%.

“We realized that when we were open until 8 p.m., we didn’t get a lot of foot traffic in the store,” Ripley said Tuesday. “We feel that it’s probably because most of the [places on post] shut down at 7 p.m.”

By using self-checkout machines to open the Sagamihara commissary two hours earlier at 8 a.m., and the Camp Zama commissary an hour earlier at 9 a.m., Ripley believes the move will attract more customers.

“We know that a lot of the families are taking their kids to school [around that time] and it gives them an opportunity to swing by the commissary,” he said, adding it could also boost sales.

Bacardi Stukey, store associate at the commissary on Camp Zama, Japan, scans grocery items with an upgraded electronic scanning register March 22, 2022. Starting early January 2023, the Camp Zama and Sagamihara Family Housing Area commissaries will extend their operating hours to offer customers more convenience when grocery shopping.
Bacardi Stukey, store associate at the commissary on Camp Zama, Japan, scans grocery items with an upgraded electronic scanning register March 22, 2022. Starting early January 2023, the Camp Zama and Sagamihara Family Housing Area commissaries will extend their operating hours to offer customers more convenience when grocery shopping. (Photo Credit: Sean Kimmons) VIEW ORIGINAL

While regular registers will not be available earlier in the morning, self-checkout machines can still accept cash, credit/debit cards, Defense Commissary Agency gift cards and coupons as payment. Vouchers from the Women, Infants and Children Overseas federal assistance program cannot be accepted during self-checkout only hours.

Pickup times for CLICK2GO, the DeCA’s online ordering service, have also not been adjusted and will continue to start at 10 a.m.

The updated operating hours, which can be found below, will begin Jan. 2 for the Camp Zama commissary and Jan. 3 for the Sagamihara commissary.

Camp Zama new operating hours

  • Sunday: 9 to 10 a.m. (SCO only*) / 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (register and SCO)
  • Monday: 9 to 10 a.m. (SCO only) / 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (register and SCO)
  • Tuesday: 9 to 10 a.m. (SCO only) / 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (register and SCO)
  • Wednesday: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. (SCO only)
  • Thursday: 9 to 10 a.m. (SCO only) / 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (register and SCO)
  • Friday: 9 to 10 a.m. (SCO only) / 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (register and SCO)
  • Saturday: 9 to 10 a.m. (SCO only) / 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (register and SCO)

Sagamihara Family Housing Area new operating hours

  • Sunday: 8 to 10 a.m. (SCO only) / 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (register and SCO)
  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday: 8 to 10 a.m. (SCO only) / 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (register and SCO)
  • Wednesday: 8 to 10 a.m. (SCO only) / 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (register and SCO)
  • Thursday: 8 to 10 a.m. (SCO only) / 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (register and SCO)
  • Friday: 8 to 10 a.m. (SCO only) / 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (register and SCO)
  • Saturday: 8 to 10 a.m. (SCO only) / 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (register and SCO)

* SCO is self-checkout machines

Related links:

U.S. Army Garrison Japan news

USAG Japan official website