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April 9 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm UTC+0

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April 9, 2021



From the desk of the ALA President

EU import restrictions update. Exchanges are reaching out to affected vendors to see if they can comply and providing limited guidance on how to comply with the health certificate restrictions. Spartan Nash, the principal distributor to Europe for commissaries and some exchange products, is working with companies to navigate the labyrinth associated with complying. Nearly 90 percent of suppliers are reporting that they can’t or won’t comply. Moves are being made by some buyers to purchase products from European sources “as a backup”. ALA is working with government and Hill contacts to get the restrictions removed altogether. The issue has popped up on the radar screen on military family advocates including the First Lady’s office.

ALA working with million meals challenge. The ALA Commissary Council is working with the Military Family Action Network’s Million Meals Challenge program to get food to military families in need. MFAN and other organizations are reporting increasing numbers of military families hitting …





Jill Biden unveils next phase of military families program
The Hill
First lady Jill Biden laid out the next steps of the military families initiative she started during the Obama administration, previewing a major focus of her work in the White House over the next few years.



Fort Lee launches Month of Military Child celebration
“This month is all about you, kiddos,” announced Child and Youth Services Coordinator Tamara Johnson as she opened the virtual Month of the Military Child kickoff program here April 1. Celebrated annually, MOMC is a time to honor the sacrifices of military families around the world. The emphasis is on youngsters who demonstrate resilience and bravery while dealing with the demands of Army life. Col. Karin L. Watson, Fort Lee garrison commander, elaborated on its purpose during the livestreamed event.



  Bisek & Company, Inc. Military Resale Distributing Agent and Broker
Understands how important the benefit of the Commissary and Exchange is to the active duty and retired military service personnel. We will work with a manufacturer to bring their variety of products to this unique market. Bisek & Company’s sales team is dedicated to doing what it takes to keep those special shoppers coming back to the Commissaries and Exchanges. Contact Bisek & Company so we may help you better understand what it takes to succeed in expanding your role in this very special benefit. Contact Brooks Wotring (brooks@bisek.com) or Laurie Cust (laurie@bisek.com).



US Army looks to facial recognition access at bases
The U.S. Army is seeking to install face-recognition cameras at base entrance checkpoints, it announced in a contract call for a recognition biometric camera system.



Rise in military telework boosted productivity but added security risks, IG says
Stars & Stripes
Defense Department personnel report being more productive and possibly happier due to the sharp increase in telework brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, but the shift from traditional office work also has increased security risks, Inspector General reports said.



More veterans finding work as unemployment rates drop again
Military Times
Veterans unemployment in March reached its lowest level since the start of the coronavirus pandemic more than a year ago, but still remains significantly higher than before the nationwide shutdowns and business restrictions began.



Troops and families report mixed results in COVID vaccine availability
Military Times
One active-duty member stationed at the Pentagon was so determined to get his COVID-19 vaccination that he took leave and drove hundreds of miles to his home state in the south, spending about $800 on two trips to get both shots.



Army begins clinical trials on vaccine that may be effective against all coronaviruses
Fifteen months after launching an effort to develop a vaccine against COVID-19, the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research is preparing for a clinical trial, seeking volunteers for a small safety study.



All veterans and their spouses can get vaccinated at the VA. Here’s how
Task & Purpose
All veterans and their spouses are eligible to get vaccinated for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) through the Department of Veterans Affairs, and based on multiple first-hand accounts from veterans, many of them are getting same-week appointments.





A look at 2021’s consumer-retailer relationship
Sail Thru
Sailthru surveyed 5,000 consumers and found that a personalized shopping experience, aligned with consumers’ newfound focus on health, home, and values, is a top priority. Our marketing experts compiled key takeaways and actionable strategies to help retailers adapt to the shift in buyer behaviors. Explore the Research.



Nike to drop 7 additional retail partners
Charged Retail
Nike plans to end third-party deals with seven more retailers after cutting ties with nine partners last year as part of its shift to a more direct-to-consumer model, the sports apparel brand said. The new list of companies includes Macy’s, DSW, Urban Outfitters and Big 5 Sporting Goods.



What will shopping look like after the pandemic?
Footwear News
Forecasts for consumer spending behavior once the pandemic passes range from a replay of the big-spending decade of the Roaring ’20s to a more subdued continuation of the past year’s increased focus on essentials and sustainability. Affluent consumers who were able to save are expected to spend largely on the experiences they’ve been craving while cooped up over the past year.





Your opinion matters: Commissary headquarters hosts virtual focus groups to discuss benefit with single, enlisted service members
Defense Commissary Agency
The Defense Commissary Agency hosted several virtual focus groups March 8-9 that centered on young, single, enlisted service members living in the barracks, seeking their opinions and knowledge of their commissary benefit as well as their shopping habits.



Jackson honors Vietnam Veterans
Fort Jackson and the Army & Air Force Exchange Services honored Vietnam veterans March 29 by hosting a ceremony and giving out Vietnam Veteran Lapel Pins at the Exchange. Any living veterans who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces at any time during the period of November 1, 1955 to May 15, 1975, regardless of location, is eligible to receive a pin.



Navy Exchange Service Command celebrates 75 years of service
The Navy Exchange Service Command (NEXCOM) celebrated its 75th birthday on April 1. NEXCOM can trace its roots back to the 1800s when Sailors had to depend on “bumboats” that moored alongside their ships to buy personal items. The Navy officially established the Navy Ship’s Store Office in Brooklyn, New York, on April 1, 1946. The command was renamed NEXCOM in 1991.





Date Event More Information
October 17-19 ALA Annual Convention 2021 Norfolk Waterside Marriott

Specific information on upcoming ALA events is posted regularly on the ALA website.


ALA Executive Briefing

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April 9
8:00 am - 5:00 pm UTC+0

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