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Frequently Asked Questions

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Do you have a small business preference?

Yes, for equipment, supplies, services and non brand name resale products.

What are non brand name resale products?

Non brand name resale products have no demonstrated or anticipated customer preference for a specific brand (e.g., fresh meat or eggs). Non-brand name products are solicited on a competitive basis and must be considered for socioeconomic set-asides.

What are brand name resale products?

A brand name product is an item procured by brand or trade name without reference to a specification. The brand name commercial item for resale within a commissary must also be a commercial item that is regularly sold outside of commissary stores under the same brand name as the name by which the commercial item will be sold in, at, or by commissary stores. In determining whether a brand-name commercial item is regularly sold outside of commissary stores, only sales of the item on a regional or national basis by commercial grocery or other retail operations consisting of multiple stores, shall be considered. Additionally, this limitation does not restrict the introduction of new items into the commissary system when their release to the commissary system is simultaneous with their introduction in the commercial sector. (The "introduction of new items" in this context is defined as being introduced and accepted for resale.)

How does DeCA operations differ significantly from a grocery store in the commercial sector?

Several ways. First, DeCA does not have its own distribution system. Vendors are expected to provide delivery in a manner consistent with commercial grocery standards to maintain stock on the shelf consistent with orders. Second, central distribution centers are operated in support of our overseas locations only. In the United States, most of the products that are stocked are provided by vendors that have distributors deliver the products to the stores. The individual commissary will place orders for products directly with the distributor, usually electronically. Third, the commissary system is precluded from making a profit. Product is sold at cost and expected to be the same within broad geographical areas. Fourth, the patron cost savings within the U.S. averages 30% or more over the same product offered in the commercial sector.

How can I get my brand name resale products in the commissary?

The first step is to make an item presentation. An item presentation must be made using a DeCA Form 40-15, Display Presentation & New Item Form (click here). Products for national distribution are normally presented at our corporate headquarters at Fort Lee, Virginia. Products with regional or local distribution may be presented at one of our region offices. The Commissary Officer does NOT have the authority to accept your products for stockage; they can only recommend to the region and or the Marketing Business Unit (MBU). Only the MBU has the authority to accept your product for stockage.

How does DeCA decide what brand name resale products to stock?

Stockage is based on known or anticipated customer demand. For brand name resale products, selection criteria includes: product quality, competitive pricing, availability of product, anticipated customer demand, commercial product movement data, etc. For other than brand name resale products, the Agency commodity managers establish a requirement for the item - e.g., meat (beef, pork) dairy, cheese and eggs, delicatessen/bakery or fish market, etc. The requirement is obtained on a fully competitive formal solicitation with award based normally on a best value evaluation that considers past performance, price, delivery, patron savings, etc.

What comes next after item presentation?

If your brand name resale item is recommended for acceptance, a DeCA Form 40-15 is forwarded to the appropriate MBU buyer at Fort Lee, Virginia where it is subject to further evaluation.

When and how will I know if my brand name item has been accepted?

If your item is recommended for acceptance, a DeCA Form 40-15 is forwarded to the appropriate MBU buyer at Fort Lee, Virginia where it is subject to further evaluation. This evaluation considers product acceptability, as measured by product movement. Category management is greatly assisting the grocery retail industry to reduce operational costs by proposing a category planogram to reduce the need to restock an item during the day. For example, if product movement indicates two cases of product are sold per day, the minimum amount stocked should two cases. Likewise, if only 1 or 2 items are sold per day, the level stocked may be only one facing. Given only a limited amount of shelf space, items in demand will receive the greater share of shelf space.

When and how will I know if my item has been accepted?

You should know within 30 days of making an item presentation. Generally, it should be earlier. For information, contact the commodity manager at either the region or MBU.

What if my brand name resale product is not accepted?

Non-acceptance of your product by this Agency should not be considered a Government rejection of your product. Other Government activities purchase subsistence items for use in mess halls, dining facilities, morale welfare and recreation affiliated restaurants, etc.

Are there guaranteed sales?

While there are no guaranteed sales on the part of DeCA; however, but you may want to consider guaranteed sales. This information should be provided on DeCA Form 40-15, Display Presentation and New Item. Guaranteed sales are a consideration on item selection, but not a prime consideration. If you offer guaranteed sales, you should have a method to compensate for selling less than the required sales (i.e.; either buy backs or voluntary price reductions).

How do I get my resale product sanitarily approved?

While all products for resale are considered commercial items, all subsistence products must come from a sanitarily approved source. Such products must either originate from establishments listed in an appropriate government published directory or establishments approved after a requested inspection by DeCA. Examples include: Meat and Poultry Inspection Directory published by USDA; Sanitarily Approved Food Establishments from US Army Veterinary Services Command; Dairy Plan Surveyed and Approved for USDA Grading Services from USDA; and other similar directories.

Are there guaranteed sales?

If you guarantee the sale of your brand name resale product(s), it should be noted appropriately on the Display Presentation and New Item Form 40-15. Guaranteed sales are a consideration on item selection, but not a prime consideration. If you offer guaranteed sales, you should have a method to compensate for selling less than the required sales (i.e.; either buy backs or voluntary price reductions).

Can I use any distributor or broker? Which firm do you recommend?

Choice of a distributor or use of a broker is strictly your decision. Since these companies serve as your agent, DeCA does not make recommendations or suggestions regarding their qualifications. For information regarding potential distributors or brokers, check with various trade organizations. One such organization is the American Logistics Association. They can be reached at (202) 466-2520 or e-mailed at smlbus_alaadm@uunet.uu.net . When establishing a broker/distributor relationship to provide service to DeCA remember: (1) DeCA encourages consolidated deliveries to reduce operating costs, (2) unless stockage and displays are required, daytime deliveries are not encouraged, and (3) drop shipments or mail deliveries to commissaries are not encouraged.

Do I have to be in national distribution?

National distribution means the product is offered in more than one DeCA region. There is no requirement to be in national distribution. DeCA accepts products for stockage based on patron demand. There are products that have a regional or local demand. We stock these products if the demand is strong enough. In fact, approximately 10-15% if the items stocked in a commissary are unique to the store or region. The remainder is considered in national distribution.

Do I have to be in national distribution for the brand name product I can provide?

National distribution means the brand name resale product is offered in all DeCA regions. There is no requirement to be in national distribution. DeCA accepts products for stockage based on patron demand. There are products that have a regional or local demand. We stock these products if the demand is strong enough. In fact, approximately 10-15% if the items stocked in a commissary are unique to the store or region. The remainder are in national distribution.

How soon will I get paid?

Time required for receipt of payment varies with the method of payment, commodity, Prompt Payment Act requirements, and the terms and conditions set fourth in your agreement/contract. Contact the point of contact listed in your agreement/contract for specific information about your payment.

Do I need to visit every commissary?

Not for purposes of making an item presentation. However, if your product is accepted for stockage, it is your responsibility to make the commissaries and their patrons aware of your product. Your merchandising plan should be crafted to facilitate this.

Where are the commissaries located and can I get a list?

There is a commissary store at almost every military installation. The locations and information on each commissary is located under www.commissaries.com/locations.cfm

How do I sell construction services to the Commissary?

The Design and Construction Unit at Lackland AFB, Texas at (210) 671-8420 procures construction services for DeCA. Mailing address for the Design and Construction Unit is:
Design & Construction
2250 Foulois St. Suite 2, Building 8400
Lackland AFB, TX 78236-1039

How do I sell services to the Commissary?

Visit DeCA's website under contracting - services and resale services.

How do I sell supplies and equipment to the Commissary?

Visit DeCA's website under supplies and equipment.

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