Base Exchange returns earnings to Airmen

Ms. Janet Taylor-Birkey

Cannon’s Base Exchange (BX), a division of Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES), wants to be the first choice shopping option for active duty military, their families and retirees, all of whom make up 70 percent of the AAFES customer base, said Nicola Carter, BX general manager.
Competitive pricing through the “We Match It” program is one avenue AAFES uses to reach that goal. If the customer finds an item for less at another retail facility, the BX will match the price.
“This is the number one way [we] can compete, in addition to customer service, with the local community,” said Ms. Carter, adding that AAFES does local and national surveys to keep its pricing competitive, along with offering sales and clearance items. “If you see a TV downtown [you plan to purchase], please come spend your money with us. We will give you the same price,” she said.
Ms. Carter stressed it is to the Airmen’s benefit to do as much of their shopping as possible at the BX, because the products sold generate income to support morale, welfare and recreation services and programs including car and child care, libraries, gyms and more. The more products sold, the more income available to help military personnel and their families.
Weekly promotions, beginning in May, are something Ms. Carter emphasizes as a good reason to look to the BX for shopping needs. “Previously we did not participate in the weekly promotions because of the size of our store, but in May, we will be back in that program again. When [customers] receive the flyer, we ought to have the merchandise to support that,” she said.
In addition to shopping locally, Cannon’s BX offers a WiFi Internet café for those who enjoy working away from home or their office. The café also has laptops available to borrow while working at the café.
For those who enjoy online shopping, http://www.aafes.com offers a variety of products ranging from jewelry and home décor to military uniforms and base movie schedules. Anyone, military or not, may purchase calling cards for deployed troops through this Web site.
Now in its 111th year in service, AAFES works worldwide to bring the comforts of home to deployed military members, staying true to their company vision “to provide quality merchandise and services at competitively low prices and generate earnings to support MWR programs.”
“It’s really crucial that we’re providing the comforts of home to our deployed servicemembers,” said Ms. Carter, adding that “it’s a morale issue.” These comforts may include popular fast food restaurants, calling cards, grooming services and other necessities military members may miss when not at their home station.