News: New Marine Mart opens
Story by Christine Cabalo
MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII - When Marine Corps Base Hawaii’s new Marine Mart opened its doors to customers, Feb. 4, 2013, the store attracted 627 customers who stepped inside to shop.
The new store, located at the corner of 1st and B streets, replaced two smaller convenience stores in the area. Whether shoppers want late night snacks or early morning breakfasts, the store has expanded its hours and is now open Sundays.
“The older stores were about 1,200 square feet each and this new space is easily four times as large,” said Jason Hasegawa, Marine Mart manager, Marine Corps Community Services Hawaii. “It’s designed to better accommodate the customers, our troops, in this area.”
With a larger retail space, Hasegawa said he’s been able to widen the mart’s selection of items and offer other amenities. The new location’s larger coolers can hold more refrigerated drinks and frozen foods. Fountain drinks are also sold, available exclusively at this Marine Mart location. Hasegawa said the store also has enough room to sell recreational supplies, automotive gear, electronic accessories, stationary and cleaning supplies.
Alongside the new items, the shop offers products found at the other base Marine Mart location, including deli food, hot soups, pastries and hot coffee.
Several customers said they appreciated the large selection and convenience of having a new store near the flightline. The store will be a regular pit stop for Petty Officer 3rd Class Harly Cartwright, flight engineer, Patron Squadron 9. She said the store’s location across the street from Hangar 104 is convenient for her to get snacks and water before taking a flight.
“Everything is very easy to find here,” she said. “I’ll definitely come by to get more fresh fruit and coffee.”
Hasegawa said the store’s layout was especially designed for people to “grab and go.” Many customers who previously shopped at the smaller stores, including a mini-mart formerly located inside Hangar 104, said they appreciate the new location.
“There’s much more space,” said Gunnery Sgt. Cord Browning, product control controller, Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 24. “Marines and sailors shopping in the older stores were really crowded, and sometimes we couldn’t all fit inside. The new store has a good layout and more amenities.”
Among those new amenities is a brand new set of metal benches and shaded tables set up outside the store. The open areas inside and outside make for a faster, pleasant shopping trip, said Lt. j.g. Mike Einbinder, naval flight officer, Patrol Squadron 47.
“I like how the new coffee station does not block the checkout line,” he said. “Sometimes you’d have three or four people waiting in line, and trying to get coffee was a hassle.”
Both staff and customers said one of the best new features of the store is a shorter wait at the checkout line. Even the store’s storage area is set up so that deliveries can be made smoothly without taking away personnel needed at any of the three registers.
“Before, in the other stores, there was just one person who had to assist all the customers during peak hours,” Hasegawa said. “Lines could get really long. Now we have two staffers permanently here and an overlap of shifts to cover customers.”
The strategy has paid off. During it’s first day of sales, the store sold 2,291 items.