Patrons have say in commissary operations
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Patrons have say in commissary operations
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Patrons have say in commissary operations
3 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Bertram Williams fixes a salad during a quick stop at the Wiesbaden Commissary. Williams said he likes the convenience of the commissary's salad bar because it offers "lots of variety, healthy choices and different types of leafy salads and salad dre... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
Patrons have say in commissary operations
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WIESBADEN, Germany - "The Commissary - it's worth the trip."

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That's what Wiesbaden Commissary store director Kevin Kegler convinces patrons during regular courtesy tours.

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The tours, which last about 45 minutes, offer an inside look at the men and women behind the scenes and all of the elements required to operate a store the size of the Wiesbaden Commissary.

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Kegler, who began his career with the Defense Commissary Agency as an on-call stocker, said he enjoys giving the tours for all ages.

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"It's a team atmosphere," said Kegler, explaining that every employee receives cross training for three months in each department. This helps provide continuity and expertise across the store.

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"Our number one goal is customer service, and doing this ensures that goal," he said.

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The work of maintaining such a well-functioning machine could not be done without the dedicated efforts of the 85 U.S. and local national employees who work full- and part-time behind the scenes and out on the sales floor.

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Another group of people who help serve patrons are the baggers, who while not on the payroll, earn their wages strictly from tips.

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The baggers work under the direction of a head bagger, who is selected by an annual voting process.

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Before being permitted to work at the commissary baggers must undergo a police background check. They are required to wear badges and keep a neat and clean appearance with cheerful and upbeat attitudes.

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During tours patrons get a chance to see the inner workings of the busy store, one of Europe's largest. They are shown the various departments including produce, dairy, meats and the bakery and given some background facts such as that the store receives 130-140 pallets of merchandise weekly. This merchandise is ordered, processed and stocked daily before the store opens the doors at 8 a.m.

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Kegler explained that customer suggestions are appreciated, and ideas for improvement are always welcome. Among changes in the past couple of years have been more opportunities for self check-out and a greatly expanded delicatessen and bakery section.

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Another more recent change was moving the salad bar from the bakery area to the front of the store near the produce department. This has proven popular with commissary patrons, he said.

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Among those satisfied customers during a recent visit was Bertram Williams, who stopped in to assemble a salad for lunch. "It's convenient," said Williams, who added that he appreciated the healthy choices, the "variety of fresh meats and lots of salad dressings and different types of leafy salads to choose from."

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Patronage at the store's Gourmet Italia Pasta Cafe also attests to patron appreciation of being able to sit down and enjoy an Italian meal either while shopping or when in the area. The Italian eatery, located in the back left corner of the store and operated on a contract basis, features freshly made pizzas, pastas, salads, coffees and other Italian specialities.

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The Pasta Cafe is open daily at 11 a.m. and closes when the store does on weekdays at 8 p.m.; at 7 p.m. on the weekends.

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Employee morale plays a major role in the success of the working environment and customer satisfaction at the commissary, Kegler said, explaining that employee get-togethers such as trips and Organization Day help build that morale. A sure sign that employees like the opportunity too are photos near the employee break room area which reflect a good time by all members of the staff.

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While Organization Day offers a day of good times together aimed at nurturing teamwork and esprit de corps, it also features vital training such as safety highlights.

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When you have employees who have worked at the commissary for more than 30 years, it's obvious that people have a fondness and stake in the organization, Kegler said.

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The Wiesbaden Commissary, located in Hainerberg Housing on a hill overlooking the Hainerberg Shopping Center, is open Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. The store is also open from 8-10 a.m. weekdays for early bird self check-out shopping.

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For information on group tours of the commissary contact the store director at civ (0611) 4080 184.

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New sign-in policy

The Wiesbaden Commissary will begin enforcing a new U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden command policy, signed by Col. Jeffrey Dill on April 7, 2010, on May 10. Policy Letter 29, Access by Bona Fide Guests and Visitors of Authorized Patrons to Commissary Facilities, restricts the number of bona fide guests and visitors allowed to accompany authorized patrons in the commissary to one per ID cardholder. The change is intended to ensure that only authorized patrons are purchasing tax- and duty-free merchandise in commissary facilities. Visit the command policies page at www.wiesbaden.army.mil (click on "Garrison Commander" and then "Commander's Policies") for more information about that and other command policies.

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