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GSA Expands Retail Presence at Five U.S. Navy Installations

New public works stores in California provide tools, supplies to support DoD mission

SAN DIEGO The U.S. General Services Administration’s (GSA) Retail Operations program is expanding its support for the Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC) Southwest by opening five new public works stores in California this September. 

The new public works stores will be at Naval Base San Diego, Naval Base Coronado, Naval Base Ventura County, Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake and Naval Air Station Lemoore. They join two successful stores supporting Navy transportation maintenance operations in San Diego and nearby Coronado (Calif.). 

“We’re focused on helping customers fulfill their challenging missions,” said GSA’s Retail Operations Director Paul Mack. “The stores are a way for NAVFAC to leverage GSA’s expertise in supply and logistics so customers can focus on their core mission.”

It’s possible that more store locations could open over the next five years as additional NAVFAC regions are brought on board. The process of opening stores is now accelerated due to GSA’s March 2021 contract award to W.W. Grainger, which streamlines GSA’s provision of industrial supplies to Navy customers worldwide. Similar contracts are planned for global support of the U.S. Marine Corps, Army and Air Force.

At each retail location, NAVFAC customers can find and buy tools and related industrial supplies, putting them to immediate use. GSA already operates several dozen similar facilities, primarily at military bases in the United States and around the INDO-Pacific theater. The stores opening in September will also carry office supply products from the nonprofits Lighthouse for the Blind and Envision Express. In addition, they will offer services including product research, identification of potential substitutes, clarification of technical specifications and more.

The GSA-managed stores typically stock a few thousand of the most commonly used items and offer direct shipping to each store for more than one million additional items available from its vendor partners. GSA and its vendor partners continuously monitor usage and inventory levels to replenish stock and adjust inventory to meet local requirements.

“When you look at the rapidly changing demands on our military, worldwide, it only makes sense to simplify the supply chain,” said GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service Region 9 Commissioner Casey Kelley. “GSA is able and willing to help NAVFAC and other elements of the military to quickly find products they need to do their work.”

The expansion of stores in California follows recent growth in GSA Global Supply’s Pacific theater presence. Earlier this year, GSA opened forward supply points in Guam, South Korea, Japan and Hawaii. These facilities deliver high-demand products (office supplies, tools, etc.) to a wide range of customers in three-to-five days, dramatically faster than traditional supply routes that flow through a DoD order consolidation facility in Tracy, Calif.

Customers being served at these forward supply points can view or download a site-specific catalog that highlights items stocked “locally,” and available for delivery in just a few days. 

Despite the challenges and uncertainties posed by COVID-19, the supply points successfully shipped approximately 15,600 orders this fiscal year through July. Those figures will likely continue to grow as GSA works with its Navy counterparts to facilitate shipments destined for ships which may visit multiple Pacific destinations.