While there are fewer American grocery stores overseas, that doesn’t mean military communities suffer any decrease in service.
In fact, shoppers in U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart’s Kelley Barracks receive some of the best commissary service in the world.
The Kelley Commissary took second place (runner-up) for the Defense Commissary Agency’s annual Best Small Commissary Overseas award last summer.
The award was based on accountability, unit cost, the annual customer service survey and sales.
The reason why the Kelley Commissary did so well — during its first year of competition — is because it has a great team of employees and high level of customer satisfaction, according to Store Director Frank Hart.
“We have a team that communicates well together … and works hard at taking care of customers,” he said.
Hart ensures that his employees are satisfied at work, so that they can provide quality service to customers.
“I really stress mutual respect … and a lot of communication,” he said. “[We do] a lot of team building, keep things enthusiastic and fun, [and] address problems immediately. Our employees are happy.”
Employee job satisfaction, in turn, affects the customers.
“We know people by name. We are in tune with their needs. We try our best to give them the things they are asking for,” Hart said.
For example, one woman recently wanted to make “beef bulgogi,” a Korean dish, for a party, and ordered eight pounds of meat. The commissary not only ordered the meat but had it delivered sliced, so that it was ready for cooking.
The staff has also continued to respond to customer requests received through the Interactive Customer Evaluation (ICE) System online, Hart added. For example, the commissary began offering pre-made salads Sept. 28, based on customer requests.
On April 1, the commissary became its own store, after being a Patch Commissary annex. On May 1, it reopened after nine months of renovations and a store reset, which increased the overall store size. With continued praise for its customer service and several improvements to the facility, Hart believes the Kelley Commissary will do even better in next year’s competition.
New products, manager at Panzer Commissary
The Kelley Commissary isn’t the only store in USAG Stuttgart with new improvements.
The Panzer Commissary has revamped its selection since a new manager, Carl Rawls, came on board in April. It has brought in between 200 to 400 new products, including crab legs, lobster pieces, new detergents, fruit cups, teas and snacks, Rawls said.
Plans are in the works to bring in more portable freezers as well, to offer customers an even wider selection.