AAFES Gruenstadt Bakery Manager Honored By Krispy Kreme


  • GRUENSTADT, Germany

Mathias Baum, the longtime manager of the Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) Gruenstadt, Germany, Bakery,

received Krispy Kreme’s “Melon Head Award” for his work increasing the brand’s presence in Europe through the Exchange.


The award is given to people who use their “melon” to drive brand awareness, which the bakery team has done since it began offering Krispy Kreme in November 2015.


“I could not believe it at all and was totally overwhelmed that I am one of the few who get this extraordinary award,” said Baum, who was one of six people worldwide to receive a 2021

award, which was presented at Krispy Kreme’s virtual International Annual Conference this past fall.


Baum has done two long stints at the bakery: from September 1984 through August 1997, and his current one.


“On April 1, 2005, after a few years in local companies, I had the great luck to come back as bakery manager,” he said.



“We have been constantly working to expand our Krispy Kreme range to appeal to as many customers as possible,” Baum said. “New doughnut varieties, filled rings, original glazed mini-doughnuts, cupcakes, Belgian waffle doughnuts … our last top seller was Belgian pumpkin waffles, and we are already working on new products for 2022.”


Baum mentioned cupcakes — a Krispy Kreme product developed by, and unique to, the Gruenstadt bakery team.


“In April 2017, our Krispy Kreme team and I thought

about what else we could offer our customers who might

not like doughnuts,” Baum said. “So we came up with the

idea to make cupcakes with mainly doughnut ingredients.


“Our excellent bakers then developed and tested the

recipes together with our quality assurance team.”


Meeting Krispy Kreme’s standards took a while … more

than three years, to be specific.


“It was not easy to get the approval for it,” Baum said. “To

meet the very high-quality requirements regarding taste

and appearance of the cupcakes up to the design of the

packaging, it took us until Nov. 23, 2020, to get the final

approval, and we were the first to produce Krispy Kreme

cupcakes worldwide.”



This isn’t the first time that Krispy Kreme honored a member of the Gruenstadt bakery team.


In 2019, Ben Emmerich, a production specialist at the bakery, was one of two people worldwide singled out in Krispy Kreme’s first Global Recognition contest.


He was recognized for reducing waste, increasing yield efficiency, committing to product quality and continuing

preventive maintenance.


Source: AAFES

Edited by Larry Lapka



AAFES Gruenstadt, Germany, Bakery Manager Mathias Baum holds a Krispy Kreme cupcake, a product developed by the Gruenstadt bakery team. The bakery began offering Krispy Kreme products in November 2015.


(Mathias Baum.jpg)

Food Insecurity Response Hits Milestone



Donations made by viewers of the “CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell” translated into thousands of meals given to military families battling hunger, with one organization giving out its one-millionth meal to those suffering from food insecurity issues.


As reported by CBS Evening News correspondent Mark Strassmann, “low incomes, frequent moves, and denial up the chain of command” have been the main culprits of a situation where thousands of military families —from NS Norfolk, Va., to Fort Hood, Texas, to JB Lewis-McChord, Wash,, and at just about all military co0mmunities across the country — are currently having a difficult time putting food on the table each day.


“I cannot feed my kids … it is just unacceptable,” stated one military family member.


“How can they focus on the mission when they can’t even survive?” asked another military family member.


Strassmann noted that a study by the Institute For Veterans and Military Families reported that 39 percent of military families faced “hunger issues” at the start of the pandemic in early 2020.


“Finally, the Pentagon agreed to identify them and help them,” Strassmann noted.


“Our men and women in uniform, and their families, have enough to worry about … basic necessities like food and housing shouldn’t be among them,” said Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin III., about programs now in place to help those in need.



Viewers donated more than $600,000 to help these families since CBS began reporting on this matter earlier in the year.


“I am absolutely humbled, and incredibly emotional, to share with each of you here with us today, that we just officially broke one million meals for military families,” said Delia Johnson, director of programs, Military Family Advisory Network (MFAN), at a food donation event held near Fort Hood.


Strassmann said those meals “were enough to feed 7,000 families.”


“This would not have been possible without the support of CBS shining a spotlight on the issue, and then viewers who really leaned in and provided incredible support,” said. MFAN Executive Director Shannon Razsadin.


“This food makes a huge impact on lives, on their family’s lives,” said Staff Sgt. Nathan Akridge of Army 89th Military Police Brigade, at Fort Hood.


Alluding to viewer donations, Strassmann concluded the report by saying, “These families have our backs. You have theirs.”


As in previous reports, no mention was made about the array of military resale programs to help feed needy military families.



Volunteers load up cars of needy military families with food and other necessary items at a recent food donation event at Fort Hood, Texas,

CBS Evening News screen capture

(Fort Hood Food Drive.jpg)

NEXCOM, Partners Pay Off Holiday Layaways



In a partnership between the Navy Exchange Service Command (NEXCOM) and the non-profit organization Pay Away the Layaway, Inc., military families at several NEX locations had an early holiday surprise when their layaway balances were paid off.


In all, 700 families at NS Norfolk, Va,; NB San Diego, Calif.; NEX Pearl Harbor, JB Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii; NWS Charleston, JB Charleston, S.C.; and NEX Orlando, Fla., had their layaway balances totaling nearly $133,000 paid off.


Celebrity Montel Williams, a former U.S. Marine and U.S. Navy lieutenant commander, and Ulysees Gilbert III, a linebacker with the Pittsburgh Steelers, surprised the patrons with the news via a video.



Customers at NEX Norfolk were happy to receive the good news that their layaways had been paid.


“I have five kids … you always see this on TV, but you never think it’ll happen to you,” said Navy spouse Albertine Griffin. “I thought [NEX Norfolk] was calling me because I missed a payment!”


As part of this year’s surprise, families at NEX Charleston and NEX Norfolk had their layaways paid in full by Pay Away the Layaway, Inc., and its featured sponsor, Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey.


Since 2016, NEX layaway balances totaling nearly $400,000 have been paid for military families. This year, Pay Away the Layaway, Inc., will pay off layaway balances totaling over $615,000 for 2,500 families at retail stores across the country.


Source: NEXCOM

Edited by Larry Lapka



A customer at NS Norfolk, Va., picks up her layaway after the balance was paid off by the non-profit organization, Pay Away the Layaway, Inc. In all, 700 families at five NEXs around the country had their layaway balances, totaling nearly $133,000, paid by the non-profit.


(NS Norfolk Paid In Full.jpg)

AAFES Shoppers Can Make Holiday Donations to AER, AFAF



Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) shoppers can support the military community by donating to the Army Emergency Relief (AER) or the Air Force Assistance Fund (AFAF) during this holiday season.


AAFES shoppers have donated nearly $4.8 million since the Exchange first partnered with AER and AFAF in 2017.


“Giving positively impacts the readiness of our military community,” said Exchange Director/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Tom Shull, himself an Army veteran. “Exchange shoppers have a unique appreciation for the important work AER and AFAF do to support service members and their families.”


Retired Lt. Gen. Raymond V. Mason, AER director, appreciates the generosity of authorized Exchange shoppers. “The Exchange is a critical partner in supporting soldiers in need and their families,” Mason said. “Especially during the pandemic, Exchange shoppers have leaned forward to do their part to support the AER mission and the Army families our team serves.”



In-store shoppers can donate to AER and AFAF in increments of $1, $5 and $10 or enter in a custom amount at the register. Online donations can be made in $5 increments during checkout at ShopMyExchange.com.


In 2020, the Exchange offered shoppers the option to donate at the register or online at ShopMyExchange.com all year long.


“Since implementing year-round giving, Exchange shoppers have consistently supported our fund,” said retired Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright, CEO of the Air Force Aid Society, one of four charities that benefits from AFAF. “Contributions during the holiday season are critical to supporting Airmen, Guardians and their families in need.”


To donate online, visit publicaffairs-sme.com/Community/give.

An American Shame’: ‘CBS Evening News Continues Coverage of Military Family Food Insecurity


“The CBS Evening News With Norah O’Donnell” once again looked at military family food insecurity during one of its reports on the Dec. 7 broadcast, stating that such conditions continue, but with a glimmer of hope possibly in sight.


Leading into the report, O’Donnell stated that viewers had donated more than $600,000 so that military families could put food on their tables, which was based on earlier reports that the show did on this subject.


O’Donnell said that the Military Family Advisory Network (MFAN) will, next week, distribute the one-millionth meal from the money raised.



The report, helmed by reporter Mark Strassmann, looked at Navy wife Abigail Kennedy, who said, “I make sure that my kids have food on the table,” as she and her three young children are driving to a food giveaway.


“We go to events like these so they help fill our stock while times are rough,” Kennedy explained.


Near NAS Oceana, Va., Strassmann showed viewers a food giveaway for military families that need such help. He called the need for such an event for needy military families “an American shame.”


At this event, the MFAM gave 680 families frozen chicken and produce, 60-lbs. worth of food to help them get by, at least for now.


“Our kids would eat Cheerios some days because that is all that we have,” Kennedy said.



The Feeding America organization estimated that 160,000 military families fight hunger, and especially vulnerable were junior enlisted ranks, with Strassmann stating that almost 30 percent of them needed such help.


“How can you focus on the mission when your family can’t even survive?” Kennedy asked.


CBS first started covering this problem back in February, and the causes remain the same: low wages, frequent moves, and high unemployment among military spouses.


Also, as Strassmann said, “A stigma borne strictly of denial.”


“I would never go to my husband’s command — never,” Kennedy said.



This is a situation which Strassmann noted is “changing slowly.” For the first time, the Department of Defense (DoD) recently commissioned what was described as a “90-day battle plan” identifying hungry military families and connecting them with help.


“Our men and women in uniform and their families have enough to worry about,” said Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin. “Basic necessities like food and housing shouldn’t be among them.”


However, Kennedy said she is skeptical about this plan.


“How long do you think that will trickle down to service members and their families?” she asked. “I will be very surprised if we see anything in the next year.”


“This event fed 680 families,” Strassmann said. “Most will need help again.


“You can only live so long on resilience.”


The report can be accessed at https://www.cbsnews.com/video/thousands-of-military-families-face-food-insecurity/


(Note: Once again, the report did not mention anything about military resale’s efforts to lessen food insecurity, nor its programs to hire military spouses and family members and include them in their ranks.)


AAFES Bringing Valero, Marathon, BP/Amoco Fuel to Expresses


To improve the quality of life for military communities, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) is introducing “Top Tier” certified-branded fuel at more than 180 gas stations on Army and Air Force installations in CONUS.


Military shoppers at select installations will be able to fuel up with Marathon, Valero and BP/Amoco fuel, depending on geographic location, at the Exchange’s Express gas stations.


Expresses are receiving signing and canopies — identical to those used at the brands’ gas stations outside the gate — to allow warfighters and their families to know that they can purchase the high-quality fuel at the low prices they have come to expect at Express gas stations. The updated fuel canopies heralding the branded fuel are being implemented at no cost to the Exchange or the installations.


The transition to Top Tier fuel started in November at Fort Hood, Texas, with the Clear Creek Express, which is now dispensing Valero fuel.


Remaining Express stores at Fort Hood, including III Corps, Kouma, Warrior Way, 37th Street, Comanche and West Fort Hood, are slated to be converted by the end of the year.


“The Exchange continues to enhance the quality of life for service members and their families, allowing shoppers at these locations to fuel up with the national brands they know and trust without leaving the installation,” said Exchange Director/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Tom Shull.


“Much like the introduction of name-brand restaurants in the 1980s and name-brand car care services in the 1990s, bringing branded fuel to these Expresses will further strengthen military shoppers’ hard-earned Exchange benefit,” Shull said.



Procuring Marathon, Valero and BP/Amoco fuel improves the Exchange’s already-secure supply chain, enhancing AAFES’s support of military communities during emergencies and natural disasters.


The Exchange’s fuel pricing policy — matching local competition for each fuel grade where the competition offers a similar service at the same terms and conditions — will remain unchanged.


With 100 percent of Exchange earnings being reinvested into the military community, procurement and logistics savings realized by the initiative will further strengthen the Exchange’s ability to support warfighters and their families.


In the last 10 years, the Exchange benefit has provided $3.4 billion in earnings for critical military quality-of-life programs.


Authorized Exchange shoppers, including service-connected disabled veterans as well as Department of Defense (DoD) and Coast Guard civilians, can fuel up at the Express.


Source: AAFES

Edited by Larry Lapka



To improve the quality of life for military communities, AAFES is introducing Top Tier certified branded fuel at more than 180 gas stations on Army and Air Force installations in CONUS, the first being at the Clear Creek Express, Fort Hood, Texas.


AAFES Director Shull: Exchange Making ‘Strong Showing’ During Holidays



In an “open letter” to “Team Exchange,” Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) Director/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Tom Shull stated that due to the team’s collective efforts, the exchange service is performing at a high level during the holiday shopping season.


“Congratulations! Thanks to your perseverance, dedication and hard work during challenging times, the Exchange is making a strong showing during the holiday season,” he said in his Dec. 2 message.



“The Exchange performed well during Black Friday weekend (Thursday, Nov. 25 through Sunday, Nov. 28), increasing sales 12.4 percent (versus 2020) from our main stores and online at ShopMyExchange.com,” Shull reported.


“The entire Exchange team worked together to ensure the weekend was a success, overcoming obstacles such as industry-wide supply chain challenges and the continuing pandemic,” he added.


He said that shoppers returned to their PXs and BXs to pick up such popular products as OCULUS VR headsets, GoPro Heros, Apple products, large-screen televisions and more.


Shull reported that softlines sales “exceeded expectations,” as demand was up 17 percent versus last year, while hardlines sales “were strong as well, outperforming 2020 results during the same period” by 6 percent.


“These impressive results are a true team accomplishment that reflects smart decisions across the organization over the past 12 months, including an intensified effort to lengthen our holiday shopping period, beginning on Veterans Day and throughout the 12 weeks of savings promotion,” Shull explained.


“Stores around the world made sure Soldiers, Airmen, Guardians, retirees, veterans, and military families were welcomed and had an enjoyable shopping experience,” he continued, while scratch-off tickets “provided new excitement in our main stores and free coffee drew foot traffic to the Expresses.”



Shull noted that for nearly two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has presented AAFES with what he characterized as “unprecedented challenges.”


“’Team Exchange’ has met the challenges, learning valuable lessons to further strengthen the hard-earned benefits we are honored to provide service members and their families,” he said.


“We still have much work to do, through the holidays and beyond. Together, we will achieve mission success and do our part to make the holidays great for the best customers in the world!


“It is an honor to serve those who serve with you.


“Army Strong! Air Force Strong! Space Force Strong! Exchange Strong!”


DeCA’s CLICK2GO Covers EBT/SNAP Customers … With One ‘Catch’



Commissary CLICK2GO, the Defense Commissary Agency’s (DeCA) online shopping and curbside pickup service, extended its services on Oct. 25 to the thousands of commissary customers in all 50 states who participate in the Electronic Benefits Transfer/Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or EBT/SNAP.


EBT/SNAP is only available in the U.S., not at overseas locations. Customers use a card that is similar to a credit or debit card to access their benefits. The EBT/SNAP account of a participant is debited to reimburse the store for food they purchase.


The Commissary CLICK2GO payment processor currently only accepts MasterCard, VISA, Discover and American Express for online and curbside payments, which is why EBT/SNAP participants have to go inside the store to complete their purchases.



“We’re pleased with the ongoing evolution of our online shopping program to be able to offer its convenience to our customers,” said DeCA Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Bill Moore, “There’s a catch, though, that for now, and until some electronic payment issues are resolved, EBT/SNAP customers can shop online, but will have to go inside the store to pay for their purchases.


“I can assure you we are working to resolve the issues as quickly as possible, but we don’t have a timeframe, yet, of when that will be. This year we finished an all-out press to expand Commissary CLICK2GO worldwide, and we are continuing to make it better as we strive to be the grocery store of choice for our patrons worldwide.”


Source: DeCA

Edited by Larry Lapka


AAFES Express Seminar 2022


May 2-6, 2022
The Rosen Centre Hotel, Orlando, FL

We appreciate your interest in participating as an Exhibitor at the Exchange Express Conference & Expo to be held 2-6, May 2022 at The Rosen Centre Hotel in Orlando, FL.

The Exchange Express Conference is designed to promote product knowledge and provide quality training to all Exchange attendees. The conference will be attended by Exchange associates from Express stores throughout the United States, Europe and Pacific and by product vendors participating in exhibit booths.

Up to 90 Exhibitors will be invited to participate in 10’x20’ exhibit booths.  The Exchange is providing these enlarged exhibit areas with plenty of room for displays and attendees to sit during presentations. Vendors must be on the approved Vendor Invitation List.

More information including hotel information and online registration will be available next week.


All Exchange delegates will attend the Expo at the same time but will rotate through the booths in small groups at designated time intervals. All Expo booths will be in the Grand Ballroom on the 1st floor of the Convention Center of the hotel.

The Expo Booths will be OPEN on Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday, May 3, 4, & 5, 2022 from 7 AM-6 PM each day. All Exchange delegates will attend the Expo at the same time but will rotate through the booths in small groups of 3-5 people every 20 minutes.


  • Meals for up to two (2) individuals to staff the booth. See registration website for details regarding meals included.
  • Larger than normal booth size 10’ x 20’ pipe & draped space (8′ high Back drape, 8′ high side rails)
  • (8) plastic contour chairs – to allow attendees to sit during your presentations
  • (2) 6′ skirted tables
  • (1) wastebasket
  • (1) 5 AMP Electrical Connection
  • A two-line sign showing Exhibitor’s company name and booth number
  • A company name listing in the attendee materials

COST: $8,950 for Exhibit Package
Payments are due by April 15, 2022 via check, electronic deposit or invoice deduction.

Below is the basic agenda for vendor participation:

EXPO will be OPEN:  **times subject to slight changes**
* Tuesday May 3, 7 AM–6 PM;
* Wednesday May 4, 7 AM–6 PM;
* Thursday May 5, 7 AM–6 PM

EXPO Set Up:
* Monday May 2, Noon – 6 PM

EXPO Tear Down:
* Thursday May 5, 6-9 PM
*Freight pick up ONLY (all displays must be torn down Thursday):  Friday, May 6, 7 –10 AM

NOTE:   sleeping rooms are NOT included in the exhibitor packages. See information below for a discount hotel room rate and booking information for hotel rooms for vendors.

Booth locations will be assigned on a first come, first served basis by the Exchange by mid February. Please note any requests for positions next to other vendors on the Special Instructions section of the registration form. Please review the complete conference information on the Express conference website.

We expect the available registrations to sell out quickly, so, please register early!

PAYMENT OPTIONS:  Payments for booths may be made using one of the following three (3) forms of payment:

  • check/money order in US Funds
  • wire transfer/electronic deposit
  • invoice deduction

Check, Electronic Transfer or Invoice Deduction — Please make payable to: XcelEvents and mail directly to XcelEvents. We will be able to send you an invoice to process the payment.
Payments Must be received No Later Than April 15, 2022. If payment is not received by this date, Vendors will not be allowed to move into their booth and the vendor’s participation may be subject to cancellation.

INVOICE DEDUCTIONS ARE ACCEPTED AS A FORM OF PAYMENT for participation in the Exchange Express Conference.  Vendors must already be a Supplier of Record currently established in the Exchange Payment system.  Vendors must supply their Vendor Code in advance in order to set up the invoice deduction (please provide this code in the Billing information section of your registration). Invoice Deductions will occur by May 30, 2022.

AIR TRAVEL   Vendors will be responsible for their own air travel arrangements to Orlando, Florida at their own expense.

The Rosen Centre Hotel
9840 International Drive
Orlando, FL 32819
Tel: 407-996-9840

The Rosen Centre Hotel has been selected as the host hotel for the conference. Each individual vendor is responsible for making their own hotel reservations— hotel stays are not included in the exhibitor package.

The hotel is offering vendors a special rate of $199/night plus tax (single occupancy) for all vendors participating.  This rate includes
complimentary access to the fitness center
complimentary basic wifi access in guest rooms and public areas
No resort fee
An online booking link will be provided soon.

Thank you!
Erin Heath, CMP
FOR EXCHANGE Worldwide Express Conference 2022
Orlando, Florida
May 2-6, 2022

Tel: 972-712-0035
Mobile: 214-282-6780
Email: erin@xcelevents.us

AAFES Names Gardner Overseas Region Senior Enlisted Advisor


  • SEMBACH, Germany

On Sept. 1, he Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) welcomed Army Sgt. Maj. Lemakius Gardner as the senior enlisted advisor for Europe/Southwest Asia/Africa Region.


As the region’s senior enlisted advisor, Gardner is the hub for communication between Exchange leadership, associates, service members and their families.


“I’m very excited to be a part of something so extraordinary,” Gardner said. “I’m looking forward to working with such an incredible organization and being that voice for our service

members and their families.”



Gardner has served in the Army for 20 years, and credits her family’s military experiences for her own passion for serving.


“Seeing how the military positively influenced my aunts and uncles’ lives — it made me want to experience the same thing,” she said. “Joining the Army has been the best decision I

have ever made.”


Her military career includes two deployments in support of Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation New Dawn (OEF/OND).


“The Exchange was there for me when I was deployed,” Gardner said. “As a soldier, they helped to make my living quarters a home away from home by having a lot of the same

goods and services that you would have in the states.


“Now that I’m serving in this position, I get to see how the Exchange makes that support happen.”


While she serves as the Europe/Southwest Asia/Africa Region senior enlisted advisor, Gardner plans to complete her second master’s degree in human resource management, a degree that will compliment her first master’s degree — which is in psychology, and enjoy the travel opportunities being in Germany offers.


“This is a unique assignment,” Gardner said. “I will enjoy everything it has to offer and look forward to the experiences it will add to my military career.”


Source: AAFES

Edited by Larry Lapka