MILLINGTON, TN, UNITED STATES
Millington, Tenn. – Each day thousands of Sailors and DoD staff navigate the buildings and streets of Naval Support Activity (NSA) Mid-South located in Millington, Tenn. The base is home to most of the Navy’s human resources functions, including Navy Personnel Command (NPC) and Navy Recruiting Command (CNRC).
As with any military installation, finding parking can be tricky during peak hours. Not all lunch breaks are created equally. Not every building can offer a full break room for staff to grab a snack or refill their coffee.
In the past, the only quick lunch option might be a few dollar bills and a vending machine, but Navy Exchange Service Command’s (NEXCOM) Micro Markets are now providing fresh, convenient options for the on-the-go worker.
The Micro Market is a self-service, self-checkout store that offers a broad array of fresh food, healthy and traditional snacks, and beverage products at a convenient location for ease of access and quick purchases. They are strategically placed in areas with a large amount of staff and where customers may have had limited product options in the past such as aircraft hangars, offices and barracks.
“On shipyards some breaks are only 30 minutes, so this is a convenient service for Sailors and staff to eat healthy and have more food options,” said Roanna Glab, a NEXCOM vending specialist.
In 2015, following a major trend in the industry, NEXCOM piloted its first Micro Market at the Southeast Regional Maintenance Center in Mayport, Fla. Since then, over 45 locations have opened on Navy installations, including Bahrain and Guam.
“Each Micro Market is flexible and adaptable to the size of the location and needs of the command, and the partnerships continue to grow,” said Heath Osterberg, NEXCOM District Manager Automated Business, Mid-South vending.
NSA Mid-South and NEXCOM opened two Micro Markets in 2016, one in the CNRC building and the other in NPC . As with every location, these two operate under the “honor system” of a self-checkout, monitored retail environment. Customers use an automated kiosk with credit, debit or market account payment options.
Even during recent COVID-19 installation closures and restrictions, the self-service environment of the Micro Markets allowed for them to remain open.
“We did have to limit some of our products, but the environment allows Sailors and staff to practice social distancing and we are sanitizing everything daily,” said Danny Brown, vending manager for NSA Mid-South.
So far this year six new locations have opened across the country with another four more scheduled for 2020. NEXCOM’s Micro Markets continue to expand the “A Better You” program by offering fresh food options which supports Navy health and wellness initiatives such as 21st Century Sailor.