Small but Mighty: Exchange Micro Markets Offer BE FIT Options On-the-Go

Courtesy Photo | Airmen peruse the Bldg. 5929 Micro Market following its grand opening on June 18. The facility was opened in part to compensate for the installation Dining Facility’s renovation closure.



Story by Alexandra Pirkle 

Army & Air Force Exchange Service HQ

DALLAS – The Army & Air Force Exchange Service is expanding its on-the-go snacks, meals and sundries—including better-for-you options that support a BE FIT lifestyle—with micro markets at installations across the United States.

Micro markets are self-service convenience stores that provide Warfighters round-the-clock access to snacks and small meals, including fresh fruit, salads, sandwiches and beverages in line with the Exchange’s BE FIT program. Some also stock sundries like aspirin and bandages. They are unmanned and automated, so shoppers can make a selection, scan the barcode, pay and be on their way.

“The Exchange supports the readiness and resiliency of Airmen and Soldiers wherever they are, day or night,” said Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Luis Reyes, the Exchange’s senior enlisted advisor. “Micro markets offer much-needed sustenance to those serving in small or secure facilities, where no dining options exist, or late into the night, after other restaurants and retail stores have closed.”

The Department of Defense’s largest retailer opened its first micro market in 2014 at the Raven Rock Mountain Complex in Blue Ridge Summit, Pa. The Exchange oversees 40 micro markets on 24 installations— including at the North American Aerospace Defense Command in Colorado Springs, Colo., and the Department of Defense Consolidated Adjudications Facility at Fort Meade, Md.

The two newest micro markets opened at Tinker Air Force Base June 18 and 21. Two more are scheduled to open at Tinker by the end of the year. About 35 additional micro markets from Aberdeen Proving Ground to Yokota Air Base are under consideration or being worked for 2019.

Soldiers at the Army Recruitment and Retention College (RRC) at Fort Knox have had access to a micro market since April and it is already a hit.

“The students and instructors have such a small window of break time,” said Capt. James Broeker, the RRC Company Commander. “Having that kind of commodity in the building really takes care of everyone.”

Broeker shops at the micro market three times a week. He especially appreciates the better-for-you snacks and sandwiches.

“I’m pleasantly surprised,” Broeker said. “The micro market has been a real big success with students and staff.”

Micro markets are flexible—command can request to stock more apples, for example. Exchange managers work with suppliers to customize inventory based on demand, ensuring each micro market is tailored to the needs of the installation.

The Exchange takes a holistic approach to providing BE FIT options that promote and encourage healthy, better-for-you options. BE FIT prioritizes the physical, cognitive and spiritual health of our Nation’s fighting force, highlighting health-conscious dining and to-go options and providing an assortment of fitness gear and wellness services.

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