The Post Exchange is now offering more products to accommodate post residents when the commissary is closed and when driving into town is not an option.
“Sometimes emergencies happen, we want to give residents enough to get by on an emergency type basis,” said Ray Emils, Fort Bliss Exchange General Manager. “We want to be able to take care of customers in between main shopping trips.”
The WSMR Post Exchange is one of the pilot stores for a new small store incentive. The store will now offer a greater variety of items rather than a large variety of a single item. As Emils explains it, instead of offering an array of pacifiers, the local exchange will offer one type of pacifier to make room for other important baby items that may not have been available before.
The WSMR Post Exchange has one of the most open purchase policies throughout the chain of exchanges. Civilians can make a wide variety of purchases within the Post Exchange, something that is rare in other installations. The only items that are off limits for WSMR civilians are electronics, tobacco, alcohol, and anything else that is taxed by the state. The WSMR Post Exchange makes 75 percent of their sales through snack items. In larger, less remote installations like the Fort Bliss Post Exchange, civilians can only purchase items for immediate consumption and are not allowed to purchase gas.
Unlike other installations, civilians at WSMR are also allowed to purchase gas, due to the installation’s remote location. The Exchange Express gas prices are determined through a gas price survey. The survey is conducted on a daily basis, by reviewing a minimum of five outside motor fuel competitors using major traffic patterns used to access the installation. The prices are established using the lowest price within the survey for each grade of fuel. Club prices, like Sam’s Club or Costco, can only be incorporated into the survey if the price is open to non-club members as well.
“Overall, our prices are fair and competitive with the local community, yet allows enough income to cover operating expenses and generate monies for the morale, welfare and recreation (MWF) fund for our service people,” Emils said. “Unlike Commissaries, AAFES is a “non-appropriated fund” activity. Every cent we earn goes back to our customers in one form or another.”
The WSMR Post Exchange also offers a shuttle program where WSMR residents and military members can request an item they may have seen at the Fort Bliss Post Exchange to be delivered to the WSMR Post Exchange. The Fort Bliss Post Exchange is the largest exchange in the world, so residents who make the 45 minute trip down there may not always have space to carry what’s on their wish list back to WSMR. Emils said there is an exchange representative who travels from Fort Bliss, Texas to the WSMR Post Exchange at least twice a week. A customer can request a product with any cashier at the WSMR Post Exchange.
“Let’s say there’s this nice shiny plasma television and you like it. Let us know and we’ll transfer it to you. You can get anything you want from there and not even have to go there,” Emils said.
Military families can also shop through shopmyexchange.com where Emils said there are over 18 million items to choose from. Items purchased with a Military Star card or over $49 can be shipped for free.
The Military Star Card also offers other incentives, like 5 cents off at gas stations and 10 percent off of at the Subway on the installation. The card also holds a deployment clause where Soldiers can turn off their card, with no interest accrual, or keep their card activate with a low interest rate, during deployment. Applications for the Military Star Card can be made through the Post Exchange or online at shopmyexchange.com