DALLAS — The Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES), Marine Corps Exchange and Coast Guard Exchange partnered up to collaborate on a nationwide initiative to source American-made products for their store shelves.
According to the organizations, the military exchanges have an ongoing commitment to bring more American-made products into their retail stores while enhancing a wide-ranging assortment of categories for their military shoppers. AAFES last put out a general call for vendors with American-made products in 2021.
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From May 1 through May 15, the exchanges are seeking vendors with American-made products in more than 20 categories, including outdoor living, automotive products, housewares, toys, pet supplies, tools and accessories.
In working with the exchanges, the organizations believe vendors and small-business owners will gain a trusted partner that offers increased brand visibility, a welcoming culture for entrepreneurs and highly trafficked retail stores and websites — all while serving the military community.
The Exchanges also offer multiple formats to promote these items. In addition to more traditional convenience stores, the AAFES also operates several micro-markets.
Vendors interested in submitting their American-made products for consideration are encouraged to visit the Exchange's RangeMe website in order to create a free company and product profile.
Dallas-based AAFES operates more than 4,330 facilities consisting of department stores, convenience stores, gas stations, restaurants, theaters and specialty stores on military installations with operations in more than 30 countries, 50 states and four U.S. territories. It is the 54th largest retailer in the United States, with 100 percent of its earnings going to support military communities.
The military stores are among several retailers looking to change up its inventory. Most recently, Northborough, Mass.-based Yatco joined with Mable, the Boston-based wholesale platform representing more than 3,000 emerging better-for-you food brands, to bring local products to its store shelves.
Yatco operates 18 convenience store and gas station locations throughout Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island.
In addition, earlier this year Providence, R.I.-based Neon Marketplace partnered with Mable to bring locally and regionally made specialty items to the convenience retailer's locations handful of locations in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.