Too busy to fit a commissary shopping trip into your day? Dreaming of making a quick curbside stop to pick up your commissary groceries without having to unstrap your toddlers from their car seats? Do you have a mobility issue that makes it difficult to navigate the commissary aisles?

If you’re in the Virginia Beach, Va., area, the commissary at Oceana Naval Air Station could fill the bill for you, as it becomes the next commissary to roll out the curbside pickup service known as Click2Go, on June 3. It’s one of the efforts commissary officials are undertaking to make shopping more convenient for customers.

You place your order online. Commissary employees pick the items in the store, pack them, and place your groceries in your vehicle at curbside. You pay at curbside. For the first 30 days, the service will be free; after that a $4.95 service fee will be charged for each order. Click here for complete instructions and requirements.

Three other commissaries have been offering the Click2Go services for more than five years, using a different business system – Fort Lee, Va.; Offutt Air Force Base, Neb.; and Travis Air Force Base, Calif. Those programs will end June 1, when the contract ends, but Defense Commissary Agency officials are rolling it out at other locations using a new technology system. Those three will be considered later.

The commissary at Fort Eustis, Va., launched the Click2Go program with the new technology in March. The plan is to roll out Click2Go at three other locations this year – Fort Belvoir and Quantico Marine Corps Base, Va.; and Andrews Air Force Base, Md.

Depending on the arrival of equipment and other factors, the next one may launch by late summer, probably at Fort Belvoir, said Rob Bianchi, a retired Navy rear admiral who is DoD special assistant for commissary operations. There aren’t firm dates yet, he said, because some construction is required before the program can be implemented.

“Obviously there’s an investment to each of these. It’s a convenience… in the grocery industry it seems to be very popular so far, with retailers that have launched it,” Bianchi said.

“It probably won’t be deployed to every single location. There’s a cost to installing it and funding it. So we’ll probably pick the larger locations first, where there’s more [customer] traffic, and work our way down.”

The Fort Eustis Click2Go program has gotten off to a slow start, which could be due to several factors, including some initial glitches in the online ordering for customers, Bianchi said. It was chosen because it was the prototype store for all of their new software and equipment, but the demographics of the customers may be a factor, too.

At Oceana, where are a lot of young military families, he said, “just the idea of not having to unstrap them from the car seat, or you’re on the way to soccer practice… to be able to pull in and get your stuff.

“Obviously we want to take care of all patrons, but we’re there primarily for active duty, and a lot of them have young families. We’re hoping it’s a real plus for them,” Bianchi said.

“I’m very excited to see what happens at Oceana,” he said. “Our location is outside the gate, so I think it should be pretty popular with folks, getting in and out of there.”

Karen has covered military families, quality of life and consumer issues for Military Times for more than 30 years, and is co-author of a chapter on media coverage of military families in the book "A Battle Plan for Supporting Military Families." She previously worked for newspapers in Guam, Norfolk, Jacksonville, Fla., and Athens, Ga.

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