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GSA Ribbon-Cutting Event Opens Retail Stores at Five U.S. Navy Installations

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

SAN DIEGO ㅡ Federal Acquisition Service Commissioner (FAS) Sonny Hashmi of the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) will join senior Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC) Southwest officials at Naval Base San Diego (NBSD), Tuesday, November 9, 2021, for a ribbon-cutting ceremony that celebrates the opening of five public works stores in California. These public works retail stores improve equipment delivery times and make the NAVFAC Southwest mission more resilient to supply chain challenges. 

“This ribbon-cutting ceremony is about critical investments in solving mission-related challenges for the United States Navy,” said FAS Commissioner Sonny Hashmi. “Department of Defense (DoD) personnel need the right tools and equipment delivered quickly and predictably. GSA puts these high-demand items on store shelves for DoD personnel use. We’re also providing expert advice on logistics, staying on budget and providing a great customer experience. This new store is about delivering for the Navy and the citizens we all serve.” 

In addition to NBSD, the new public works stores are located at: Naval Base Coronado, Naval Base Ventura County, Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake and Naval Air Station Lemoore. They join two previously opened (early 2021) stores supporting Navy transportation maintenance operations in San Diego. 

“It is only logical for GSA to open a store on Naval Base San Diego, it is the busiest Naval installation in the Pacific,” said Capt. Ted Carlson, NBSD commanding officer. “With more than 200 tenant commands, the store will provide significant and timely support to the Navy and our Sailors, who shouldn’t have to wait weeks to get needed tools and supplies.”

More GSA store locations are forecast to open over the next five years as additional NAVFAC regions are brought on board.

“NAVFAC Southwest is looking forward to working with our new GSA tool as our previous solution was not working” said NAVFAC SW Commanding Officer Captain Michael Oestereicher.

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.

“As we celebrate new stores in California with today’s ribbon-cutting ceremony at Naval Base San Diego, we’re really talking about a global partnership,” said GSA’s Director of Retail Operations Paul Mack. “When NAVFAC told us about a backlog of 458 requisitions in Navy procurement channels, GSA quickly modified its Grainger contract for worldwide Navy support to include in-store transactions and fulfillment of referral orders. We now provide training and have a streamlined process that saves countless hours for NAVFAC and GSA. This collaboration drives efficiency and cost savings.” 

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 in California also carry office supply products from the nonprofits Lighthouse for the Blind and Envision Express. In addition, they 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 from 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 FAS Region 9 Commissioner Casey Kelley. “GSA is able and willing to help NAVFAC and other military services quickly find the 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 which 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, last fiscal year the supply points successfully shipped approximately 25,674 orders valued at $23.9 million. Those figures are expected to grow as GSA works with its Navy counterparts to facilitate shipments destined for ships which may visit multiple Pacific destinations.