ALA Executive Briefing
Sept. 17, 2010

Defense cuts may slow area economy
The Washington Post
After surging in size and profits during the post-9/11 era, the defense industry in metropolitan Washington is bracing for a major contraction and significant layoffs that economists said could produce a drag on the regional economy for years. Already, there have been signs that announced cuts in national defense programs are having an impact. Those losses are just the beginning of what many expect to be a much broader set of reductions at local companies. More

Virginia to fight Defense moves
The Washington Post
Gov. Robert F. McDonnell and members of Virginia's congressional delegation vowed recently to fight Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates's decisions to shutter the Joint Forces Command, a military installation in Hampton Roads, and to slash the Pentagon's military contracting budget by 10 percent a year for the next three years. At the first meeting of McDonnell's statewide military commission, members focused on Gates's Aug. 9 decisions, which McDonnell said could cost Virginia thousands of jobs and have a devastating impact on the economy. More

House might adjourn for elections earlier than planned
Congress Daily via Government Executive
House Democrats are considering cutting the upcoming session from four weeks to three. Adjourning at the end of September would give House members more than a month before the Nov. 2 elections to focus on the final stretch of their campaigns. Such a move is "being considered," said the aide. He added there is "no decision yet," and that the official adjournment date remains Oct. 8. Polls show House Democrats are facing a tough climate and could lose their majority.More

Service chief won't support more joint bases
Military Times
Joint basing is a failure that has not produced the cost savings the Defense Department expected, the Air Force's top officer said. Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz said he will not support future joint bases and questioned whether the 12 joint bases recommended by the 2005 Base Closure and Realignment Commission should be split apart. "The bottom line is there are some significant issues with joint bases, and over time you will see no more, that's for sure. The question is whether we will see less," Schwartz told a crowd of airmen after being asked if he supported the effort to consolidate military bases.More

Republican Congressman talks government shutdown
The Caucus via The New York Times
Washington saw a bit of a mid-90s flashback recently. Representative Lynn Westmoreland, a Georgia Republican, reportedly indicated at a gathering of social conservatives that a government shutdown could be in the offing if the G.O.P. takes back the House in this year's midterm elections — and asked the activists to stand with the party if the government did come to a halt.More

New and reformulated packaged goods give parents healthier lunchbox options
Supermarket News
In one of the largest school districts on Long Island, New York, students in the second to fifth grades can't bring in cupcakes, cookies or any other type of food for birthday celebrations. The district also sends home a suggested list of healthy foods to send in for snack time. Efforts like these have significantly changed the way schoolchildren eat, and trickled down into what's inside the school lunchbox. Indeed, the days of most parents sending their kids to school every day with cupcakes, cookies and salty snacks are long gone. More

Foodbites: Grocer's action a huge step forward
The Monterey County Herald
The Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch program continues to make rippled splashes in its quest to promote sustainability and ensure the health of our fisheries. Partnering with Blue Ocean Institute, the aquarium has helped Whole Foods Market launch the first-ever, in-store, color-coded sustainability rating program for wild-caught seafood. As the first national grocer to provide customers a comprehensive rating system — with green, yellow and red tags — Whole Foods has now become the leader in retail sustainability education. More

German discount grocer Aldi opening Northeast DC location
The Washington Post
A new slice of competition has come to the D.C grocery market. Discount retailer Aldi plans to open a new store directly across from the Safeway on 17th Street NE, which long has had the neighborhood to itself. The next nearest food store is almost two miles away. The no-frills, Germany-based retailer broke ground last week on its first location in the District, adding to its roster of 21 stores in Maryland and 11 in Virginia. "Another grocery store in the area will help create better prices for residents," said D.C. Council member Harry Thomas Jr. Aldi "will be like a neighborhood-based Costco's. And we can use that here." More

Refiners seek to rename high fructose corn syrup to sweeten its image
The Guardian
It has been dubbed "the devil's candy" by critics. A ubiquitous sweetening ingredient known in the US as high fructose corn syrup could get a branding makeover under a plan by food companies to make it sound more appetizing. Alarmed about a growing stigma surrounding the substance, the U.S. Corn Refiners Association is attempting a rebranding. The organization has asked the Food and Drug Administration for permission to change the name of the ingredient to the simpler sounding "corn sugar". More

Big Y moves part of strategy to grow chain
The Republican
Big Y Foods Inc. is getting bigger on the eve of its 75th anniversary. Recently, Big Y announced that it had purchased seven Connecticut supermarkets from the faltering A&P chain. The news followed announcements that construction will soon begin on new Big Y locations in Franklin and Milford in eastern Massachusetts and just off Massachusetts Turnpike Exit 2 in Lee. "Our plan is to grow by one or two stores a year," said Charles D'Amour, president and chief operating officer of Big Y Foods Inc. "A few years ago we put the brakes on because of the economy. But this was a great opportunity for us." More

Peapod unveils mobile app
The Boston Globe
Peapod, the online grocery delivery service, announced the availability of PeapodMobile, a free app that enables customers to compile shopping lists on their smartphones. Founded in 1989, Peapod started out as an option for consumers who wanted to use their personal computers to do their grocery shopping online and schedule deliveries to their homes. According to Peapod, its new mobile app offers customers another layer of convenience. Customers can use the app to add items to their virtual shopping carts over the course of a day or two, press a button to place the order and set up a delivery.More

Visit to Richmond, Va. Fisher House

Jim Weiskopf from Fisher House Foundation is hosting a visit and tour of the 21-suite Fisher House at the Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2010. The tour is open to any DeCA employees or industry partners. DeCA employees should contact Marye Carr at ext. 52781 to sign up (DeCA is providing transportation for its attendees). Industry partners should contact Jim Weiskopf at (202) 607-1067 to confirm attendance and for a map with directions. Visit should last approximately one hour and will include breakfast.

James D. Weiskopf
Vice President

Fisher House Foundation, Inc.
13125 Willow Edge Court B
Clifton, Va. 20124-1080

E-Mail: More

Fresh & Easy promotes reusable bags over plastic, paper
San Gabriel Valley Tribune
Never has "paper or plastic?" been such a daunting question for Californians. A vote earlier this month by state lawmakers that rejected a statewide ban on plastic grocery bags has fueled debate over whether grocery stores should be allowed to provide the bags, which can be environmental hazards. Fresh & Easy, California's leading environmentally friendly grocery chain, announced recently that it is giving away more canvas bags to help promote reusable bags as a leading alternative. More

Toys 'R Us rolls out FAO pop-up stores, exclusive items
Toys 'R Us is taking an interesting approach for at least one slice of its business that boils down to this: you can't compete on price if you don't have the item. Sure, the retailer will have plenty of the hot must-have holiday toys, but it is also expanding the number of exclusive toys it will be selling, and it finally began to expand the reach of the FAO Schwarz business, so some folks won't have to travel to New York to dance on the big piano keyboard. The iconic FAO Schwarz brand has long been known for its unique, high-end toys — not to mention the scene in "Big," — and that is expected to continue. More

Natural gas stations in Western Pennsylvania's future
Pittsburgh Tribune Review
With help from the state, two companies are working on opening the first public natural gas refueling station in Western Pennsylvania. Now they just need customers. The state Department of Environmental Protection awarded Equitable Gas a $700,000 grant to build a public natural gas refueling station by the end of March at a yet-to-be-determined location in the Strip District. The grants aim to stimulate interest in natural gas vehicles, which officials say put out fewer emissions than gasoline-powered vehicles and are cheaper to fill up.More

Study: Retail CFOs anticipate ongoing economic stagnation
Chain Store Age
According to a study released recently by accounting and consulting firm BDO USA, LLP, 82 percent of CFOs at leading U.S. retailers anticipate a continuation of stagnant economic conditions as opposed to a double dip or an ongoing turnaround. The Retail Compass Survey of CFOs found that the majority of retail CFOs cite an ongoing economic turnaround as most dependent upon lower unemployment or consistent improvement in consumer confidence and spending. More

New ad targets McDonald's
The Wall Street Journal
McDonald's Corp. is the target of a new television commercial set to air in Washington, D.C., that blames the burger giant for heart disease. In the commercial, produced by the nonprofit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a woman weeps over a dead man lying in a morgue. In his hand is a hamburger. At the end, the golden arches appear over his feet, followed by the words, "I was lovin' it," a play on McDonald's longtime ad slogan, "I'm lovin' it." A voiceover says, "High cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart attacks. Tonight, make it vegetarian."More

Eye on the week ahead

Reports on U.S. retail sales, business inventories, and industrial production will suggest the status of the stateside recovery, while inflation data is expected to show little increase in consumer prices.

Key data releases: Treasury budget (Sept. 13) retail sales (Sept. 14); industrial production (Sept. 15); wholesale inflation, international capital (TIC) flows (Sept. 16); consumer inflation, consumer sentiment (Sept. 17). More

New exchange experience begins at Tinker

History is in the making at Tinker AFB as yesterday's BX becomes today's "Exchange" with a new look and an improved shopping experience.

The layout of the facility is a dramatic, new approach to the exchange benefit as the store is divided into three major merchandise worlds — Home, Life and Style. The customer service section has been moved to the front of the store to offer expert service immediately upon entry. Additionally, compelling shops and destinations have been created to fit the active lifestyle of military shoppers.

The evolution of the brand does not stop at the store, however. The rebranding from AAFES to the Exchange has been a holistic approach that will create a new paradigm and consistent corporate message. This message will be evident in tabloids, catalogs, exclusive brand packaging on the shelves as well as revisions to the website that will be coming online over the next few months.

The renovation began on June 1 and just 116 days later the transformation is complete with fresh new colors, textures and graphics to create a facility that is custom-designed for military shoppers' lifestyles and one that is expected to be replicated at Air Force and Army installations worldwide.

"A lot of hard work went in to get this completed in such a compressed timeframe," said the Tinker Exchange's General Manager Mike Patmon. "While the 24-hour schedule moved the process along quickly, our shoppers deserve credit for their patience during the renovation. I think once they see this store they’ll realize that any inconvenience they might have experienced was well worth it."

The logo's new tag line, "You save, we give back," emphasizes the Exchange's competitive prices and support to Air Force Services and Army Morale Welfare and Recreation programs. As part of its dual mission, roughly two-thirds of Exchange earnings are returned to quality of life programs such as youth services, Armed Forces Recreation Centers, arts and crafts, aquatic centers, post functions and golf courses.

"We are proud to make the Exchange relevant again and give our men and women in uniform a great place to shop and meet," said Patmon. "This ambitious new store concept takes the best of what's out there in the big box stores, malls and on Main Street and puts it all in one place — one store that is custom-designed for our shopper's military lifestyles." More

Gary Sinise band to play 3 free concerts
The Air Force says members of the military in Alaska will have the chance to attend a concert by a performer more known for his acting than his music. Actor Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band will perform three free, private USO concerts for troops and their families as part of a USO tour sponsored by TriWest Healthcare Alliance.More

DoD names new commander of Lewis-McChord
The Department of Defense has named a new commanding general for I Corps and Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates announced Monday that President Obama nominated Army Maj. Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti for promotion to lieutenant general. The News Tribune reports Scaparrotti has been assigned to run Army operations at the joint Army-Air Force base south of Tacoma.More

New and coming-soon recreational, tactical gear
GearScout spent the summer alternating between Red Bull and airplane scotch as we traveled the U.S. to build our compendium of new and coming-soon gear. All of it will end up on the GearScout blog over time, but we decided to give you a peek at our favorite new recreational and tactical gear after canvassing industry shows such as Outdoor Retailer and the ADS Warrior Expo.More