Lettuce See: Major Japan Supermarket Group Tours Kadena Stores

Leaders of the All-Japan Supermarket Association, Exchange and commissary gather for a picture in Kadena AB’s Exchange.

– Sixty members of All-Japan Supermarket Association (AJSA) toured Kadena Air Base’s Exchange and commissary to get a closer look at how the Department of Defense operates both organizations.

“The orientation tour gave AJSA officials insight into the types of merchandise our shoppers buy, our pricing and marketing strategies, as well as opportunities for local businesses to partner with the Exchange,” said Main Store Manager Flor Payton.

The AJSA was founded in 1962 by representatives of 15 supermarkets based in western Japan as a study group focused on employee, management and buyer training for their stores.

Pacific Region Commander Col. Scott Maskery presents his coin to Hajime Tajiri, chairman of the All-Japan Supermarket Association.

Through a translator, Hajime Tajiri, AJSA’s chairman, explained that AJSA members gather monthly to tour a member’s supermarket, learn the store’s best practices and offer suggestions to resolve the store’s challenges. The members also study other countries’ supermarkets for insights.

The AJSA members were very appreciative of the “open-arms welcome” and tour provided by the Exchange and DeCA leaders during the Nov. 15 visit.

“Welcoming AJSA members to the Kadena store was a great opportunity for the Exchange to learn from their expertise while also sharing our own tips for success,” said Col. Scott Maskery, Exchange Pacific Region commander. “AJSA members could see first-hand our outstanding U.S. and Japanese local national employees executing the Exchange mission and our core value of ‘Family Serving Family.’”

The Exchange and DeCA continue to strengthen business relationships with the host country.

“This is a great community outreach event for us,” Payton said. “This allows us to build partnerships within the local community, get to know our neighbors and learn more about how businesses operate in Japan.”

Did You Know . . .

The Kadena AB shopping mall is the world’s second largest Exchange mall, with nearly 329,000 square feet. First place belongs to the mall at Germany’s Kaiserslautern Military Community, with 436,000 square feet.

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