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Focusing on the customer and brightening the day.

"Black Friday Sale, Ship's Store, 0400!" "Bringing back the old school - RC Cola and Moon Pies, now available in the Ship's Store." "Buy the product with the secret marking and receive a nine-hour liberty chit!"

These are just a few of the many emails and advertisements the Ship's Store aboard USS Oak Hill (LSD 51) sends out on a weekly basis. As you can tell, it is not your typical store.

"We try to listen and really focus on the customer, while having a good time," said SH3 Osny Chery. Oak Hill's S-3 Division consists of six top-level Ship's Servicemen that go above and beyond the call of duty. They each have their own style and creative ideas, which they bring to the division to help empower the impact the Ship's Store has on the crew.

Since taking over as Ship's Store operator, SHSN Kern Moseley has added his own approach. "I like being able to pick out new products from the ASL/ACB that I believe the crew will enjoy," he explained. SHSN Moseley said he continually rearranges the layout of the Ship's Store, giving it a fresh look and highlights different products. Providing a variety of products onboard is not only a priority, but also the fun part of the job. "When a customer enters the store and notices that RC Cola and Moon Pies are available, they often reflect back on childhood memories (if they are old enough to remember RC Cola)," said SHSN Rugin Sardon. "Having customers come in and get excited about the new products are my favorite part of the job."

One of SHSN Ebony Henderson's favorite memories of being in the Ship's Store was the Black Friday sale. The ship had been underway for some time wrapping up the vaunted UNIT LEVEL TRAINING (ULT) cycle, and most Sailors aboard had little time to shop for their families for the upcoming holidays. "We wanted to do something to raise crew morale," said SHSN Henderson. "I had the idea to have our own Black Friday while underway so the crew could buy gifts for their families." The idea was born, and at 0300 on Friday, the S-3 Division was awake and preparing the Ship's Store for the onslaught of the crew at 0400. All electronics were marked down considerably, and the first 24 people received a free Energy Drink. "It was a great success, both with raising stock turn and crew morale," raved SH2 Ian Chenkin.

"Being able to brighten someone's day is my favorite part," emphasized SH3 Chery. "The Ship's Store is not just a place where the crew comes to procure geedunk, it's a place where they can socialize, share gossip, and reenergize themselves for the next evolution or watch - even if it is only for a few minutes." Hearing that the crew is excited about new products in the store provides the S-3 team with the utmost satisfaction.

Keeping an operation like this at its peak is not an easy task. "We treat every day as if it were inspection day, only accepting the best!" is SHC Jeremy Hanke's leadership motto. This has made the S-3 Division onboard Oak Hill one of the most successful on the waterfront.

Whether it is the random giveaways to show our customer appreciation or writing special 1155s to get new products the customers wants, the Retail Operations Division comes through for the crew! What does the crew think of their Ship's Store, you may wonder ... ???

Well, HM3 Hernandez said it best, "Quality customer service, no matter what mood I have coming into the Ship's Store, I always leave with a smile because of the upbeat attitude of all the Ship's Servicemen and the great selection of products available in the Ship's Store!"

By Lt. j.g. Chase Vizzier, SC, USN, USS Oak Hill (LSD 51)
COPYRIGHT 2011 U.S. Department of the Navy, Supply Systems Command
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Title Annotation:Cover story; USS Oak Hill's Ship's Store
Author:Vizzier, Chase
Publication:Navy Supply Corps Newsletter
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2011
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