MCAGCC, Twentynine Palms, Calif. -- The groundbreaking ceremony for the new Combat Center commissary was held north of the existing commissary Dec. 11.
"The Commandant calls the Combat Center the jewel of the Marine Corps," said Sgt Maj. Steven Clarke, Combat Center Sergeant Major. "We need to make sure we have the facilities and housing to make each Marine's stay here a good one."
The $11.2 million project is scheduled for its grand opening in December of 2003. With the 6,000 extra square feet for the store floor, the new facility houses a large deli, bakery and provides wider isles for less congestion.
"It was supposed to be an expansion project and after we received the bids we found out it would be more cost-efficient to build a new commissary," said Jeanne Halterman, Director, Combat Center Commissary.
Each food section in the new commissary will be decorated and appropriately labeled with banners for the 10,088 active duty personnel, family members, retirees and Department of Defense employees.
"The bakery and deli is going to be very nice," said Halterman. "The new décor will jazz it up and make a nice atmosphere to shop in."
The Defense Commissary Agency aboard the Combat Center yields nearly $1 million in sales each month not including the commissary surcharge that goes into building and the expansion of the DeCA facilities.
Halterman hopes the new facility draws in military families that live out in town and shop at the local grocery stores.
"I think sales will go up, and that our new and old customers will have a good experience and continue to shop here," said Halterman. "The trick is to get them in here to see what they are missing."
Patrons of the commissary pay cost prices saving them 34 percent of what they'd pay at local grocery stores. Last month's produce alone was an average of 44 percent cheaper at the commissary than out in town. These savings are worth more than $2,400 a year for a family of four, according to Halterman.
"People of the Combat Center need to exercise their [commissary] privilege," said Halterman. "The commissary is for them and no one else and people need to take advantage of that."