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AAFES multiplies customers’ purchasing power

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Rodney Chaplin, an aerospace ground equipment technician with the 169th Maintenance Squadron, shops at the Base Exchange on McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., Jan. 5, 2016. The BX offers a variety of options for their customers while also contributing to the community. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman Megan Floyd/Released)

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Rodney Chaplin, an aerospace ground equipment technician with the 169th Maintenance Squadron, shops at the Base Exchange on McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., Jan. 5, 2016. The BX offers a variety of options for their customers while also contributing to the community. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman Megan Floyd/Released)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Ladarias Boyd (right), an avionics technician with the 169th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, pays Ms. Latia Dawson (left), a shift supervisor for the Base Exchange, for his items at the BX on McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., Jan. 5, 2016. The BX offers a variety of options for their customers while also contributing to the community. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman Megan Floyd/Released)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Ladarias Boyd (right), an avionics technician with the 169th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, pays Ms. Latia Dawson (left), a shift supervisor for the Base Exchange, for his items at the BX on McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., Jan. 5, 2016. The BX offers a variety of options for their customers while also contributing to the community. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman Megan Floyd/Released)

MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. -- The Army and Air Force Exchange Service has been helping our service members for 125 years. So many of the installations around the world have large Base/Post Exchanges, gas stations and commissaries that often times we can forget that AAFES is part of our Swamp Fox family here. 

"Although we are small, our BX is profitable due to the value recognized by its patrons," said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Allen Stewart, the deputy commander for the 169th Maintenance Support Group. "The general manager over Fort Jackson, Shaw Air Force Base and McEntire JNGB are very pleased with our business model and the consistent revenues generated from its authorized patrons (ANG, ARNG, civilian employees, retirees).

With our continued support and patronage, AAFES can support us as well. For those of you needing more reasons shop at the BX, consider the following points.

#1 - The BX doesn't have anything that I want or need.

"We're always looking for ways to improve," said Ms. Cheryl White-Sterling, AAFES store manager at Shaw Air Force Base. "If there's something specific that a customer is looking for, we do our best to try and get it in stock."

For example, McEntire recently received a shake machine from Shaw AFB. Since the last week of October, our BX has sold more than 300 shakes. These customizable shakes can be created to suit a customer's tastes.

In addition, small items such as cameras or video games can be transferred from the BX at Shaw or the PX at Fort Jackson to our BX for your convenience. All a customer needs to do is place a special request at our BX, and the item will be hand-delivered by an AAFES employee to ensure your satisfaction.

"They can also order items not carried here, nor at Shaw, and have those items delivered as well," said Stewart.

# 2 - Why should I buy food from the BX if I bring my lunch from home?

The BX offers a wide selection of food and drinks, allowing individuals to grab a quick bite to eat. The BX also carries many healthy options that would make a great addition to any packed lunch.

"There's so much more here than people realize," said White-Sterling. "There are seasonal items in our shops, we have fresh fruit and the roller grill items that are really good."

They are also very flexible when it comes to selection, and even prices.
AAFES offers the price challenge program. If you find a lower price for an identical item off base, in the general vicinity, they will match that price, said White-Sterling. In addition to that, all of their products are tax-free.

"The prices are extremely competitive versus private businesses," said Stewart.

# 3 - What is my incentive to shop at the BX when I do all my shopping off base?

When you buy items at the BX, you're not only saving money, but you're helping your community. 

AAFES is a Non-Appropriated Fund Instrumentality (NAFI) with a dual and enduring mission of providing quality merchandise and services to its customers at competitively low prices and of generating earnings which provide a dividend to support Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) programs, said Stewart.

The Shaw AFB AAFES controls the BX here, and both shops have contributed a combined total of $355,715 to MWR programs since February 2015.

"McEntire JNGB actually receives its share of MWR funds each year from those earnings," said Allen. "The earnings fund such things as the Halloween event, the Base Christmas Party and some Family Services events. These events support all McEntire JNGB members."

AAFES has done a lot to enhance our life here on base, and they need our continued patronage.

"The bottom line is, the more we use it, the more it [AAFES] benefits all of us," said Stewart.