NEXCOM cuts ribbonPublished 11:05pm Friday, October 26, 2012
Officials cut the ribbon on better service for sailors and Marines in Suffolk on Friday.
The Navy Exchange Service Command officially opened its Northeast Distribution Center in the CenterPoint development with the snip of the scissors. The center has been up and running since July 19, and the move from two older buildings at Naval Station Norfolk was completed about two weeks ago.
By the numbers, the building is 350,000 square feet with 44 doors, parking for 100 truck trailers and nearly two miles of conveyor. It supports 112 Navy Exchanges and 41 Marine Corps Exchanges in the United States, as well as warehouses in Europe, Bahrain, Cuba and Africa.
But the numbers ultimately aren’t the most important part, said Congressman J. Randy Forbes, who spoke at the event.
“The real end game is that we’re looking to say, ‘How can we take care of these men and women who are getting up every single day and fighting to keep us free?’” Forbes said. “I can’t think of anybody who’s doing it better than our exchanges and our commissaries.”
Navy and Marine Corps Exchange stores offer goods and services at a savings to military families. Profits are funneled to quality-of-life programs for men and women in the service.
“This building will further enable us to deliver this benefit our sailors and their families have earned and so richly deserve,” Robert Bianchi, chief executive officer of the Navy Exchange Service Command, said to the crowd of more than 200 people.
Bianchi said the building will handle about 70,000 pallets of merchandise every year with a value of more than $146 million.
The two older buildings in Norfolk this building replaces were built in 1941 and 1976, Bianchi said. The new facility consolidates the operations into one new building.
“All of that helps our bottom line, which helps us deliver that benefit to our sailors,” Bianchi said. “Not only is this a great improvement for our business, it’s also a quality of life improvement for our associates.”
Mayor Linda T. Johnson said, “We in Suffolk are so proud to play a role in supporting the nation’s military families.”