Commissary officials have identified the eight stores that will make the agency’s first foray into the world of delivering groceries to the doors of military commissary customers.

Assuming the solicitation of the contract goes as expected, the stores are:

♦ Fort Belvoir, Virginia

♦ Fort Bragg South commissary, North Carolina

♦ Fort Lewis commissary at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington

♦ MacDill Air Force Base, Florida

♦ Miramar Marine Corps Air Station, California

♦ Norfolk Naval Station, Virginia

♦ San Diego Naval Base, California; and

♦ Scott Air Force Base, Illinois.

The delivery area would be for a 20-mile “driven” radius from the commissaries, according to a pre-solicitation notice issued Jan. 31 by the Defense Commissary Agency on a government contracting website. The anticipated notice for the actual contract solicitation is Feb. 7.

Information was not available on a projected timeline for the pilot program to start. “It would not be appropriate for the Defense Commissary Agency to comment on the specifics of this procurement action,” said spokesman Kevin Robinson.

Bill Moore, director of the Defense Commissary Agency, has made doorstep delivery one important aspect of his efforts to make it more convenient for customers to use their commissary benefit, which saved customers worldwide an average of 25 percent in 2020, compared to stores outside the gate.

According to the pre-solicitation notice, after the customer places the online order, commissary officials will pick the items ordered, bag them and stage them for the contractor to pick up. The agency will also collect the payment from the customer — to include payment for the groceries, the surcharge, delivery fees, and any applicable tips for delivery drivers. While a template in the pre-solicitation uses an example of a $10 delivery fee, it’s expected the dollar amount would be determined by the contract.

The contractor will be responsible for completing the delivery within the two-hour delivery window specified by the customer.

The drivers will be licensed and insured, and able to gain access to the military installation; the contractor will be responsible for making sure the drivers meet that installation’s security requirements for gaining access. The contractor will maintain equipment that allows for the packing and safe delivery of chilled and frozen grocery items.

The contract will be effective for 135 days, to include 45 days of integration and testing by the contractor and the commissary agency’s eCommerce vendor, followed by 90 days of delivery services.

Officials have been conducting market research on delivery services and issued a Request for Information to industry last year. The plan is to eventually deliver groceries from all commissaries in the continental U.S.

The industry request asked whether potential delivery providers are now able to start a delivery service from all stateside commissaries, or if they could start the service at some stores and which of them could get delivery service within the next 12 months.

This is the next step following the commissary agency’s rollout of its online ordering/curbside pickup service known as Click2Go. Spurred by the initial success — and customers’ calls for more locations during the pandemic — Moore focused on accelerating the Click2Go rollout. By the end of September it was available at all 236 commissaries worldwide.

Karen has covered military families, quality of life and consumer issues for Military Times for more than 30 years, and is co-author of a chapter on media coverage of military families in the book "A Battle Plan for Supporting Military Families." She previously worked for newspapers in Guam, Norfolk, Jacksonville, Fla., and Athens, Ga.

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