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Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany


Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany

Readiness Enabler for Operational Forces  •
Commissary: a cut above the rest

By Nathan L. Hanks Jr. | | April 23, 2009


The meat department from Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany Commissary received two awards at the Annual Store Director’s Conference held in Pensacola, Fla., March 26.

The awards were the Most Increased Sales and Best Meat Department, both in the small store category.

The Commissary competed against 113 others in the eastern region, encompassing all states east of the Mississippi.

Frank Toves, store director, Commissary, MCLB Albany, Defense Commissary Agency, accepted the awards on behalf of all employees at the Commissary.

“I’m glad to be a member of this professional team. They make my job easy because I don’t have to constantly keep following up with them making sure they get the job done,” Toves said. “They are the best at what they do, and the award proves it.”

From fiscal year 2007 - 2008, the meat department here had a net increase of 14 percent in sales.

The DeCA-wide average on meat sales is 7.5 percent of the total store sales. Here, the meat department averages 11.5 – 12 percent of the sales.

Danny Eason, meat market manager, Commissary, has worked 35 years in the meat industry. Twenty-four of those years spent here.

“We have a very loyal group of customers,” Eason said. “We tell them they are not the most important reason why we are here… they are the only reason we are here.”

According to Eason, one of the advantages of being a small store is that they can give the customers one­-on-one service, individual attention.

“We’ve always thought we have the most spoiled customers, and we are proud of that because we work hard to spoil them,” Eason said. “When our customers ask for a special cut, we don’t make them wait one or two days. We cut it right there.”

Eason said that receiving the award reinforces the fact that the meat department, as a team, makes a difference.

“I have, without a doubt, one of the best overall crews that any one could ask for. I have two meat cutters who are former meat managers themselves and two meat cutter helpers totaling nearly 90 years of experience in the meat industry,” Eason said.  “We have one goal in mind, and that is to take care of the customer.”

Toves and Eason attribute the award to the continued loyalty of the customers, both active duty military and retirees.

One such faithful patron is Virginia Douglas a spouse of a retiree. Douglas drives from Smithville, Ga., to shop at the Commissary on average twice a month.

According to Douglas, she buys all her meat at the Commissary.

“This is why I come here,” said Douglas, pointing to the variety of meat on display. “If they don’t have what you want on the shelves, they will custom cut it for you.

“The meat department deserves the award because of their good quality meat and customer service,” said Douglas, who has been shopping at the Commissary for more than 35 years.

Keith Whittington, meat cutter, has been working for the past six years at the Commissary, and has a total of 22 years of experience in the meat industry.

“The award means that we are doing something right and that is taking care of our customers.  If you take care of your customers, they will come back,” Whittington said.  “The biggest award is knowing that the customer is satisfied.”

Foster Lake, who has worked three and-a-half years at the Commissary, summed it up by saying, “We love serving our customers.”

Other employees of the meat department are Harrell Willis, meat cutter, with 25 years of experience, two years at the Commissary, and meat cutter helper Reggie Lang with two years at the Commissary.