By 2nd Lt. Kayleigh Thompson
21st Force Support Squadron
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — After 20 years of service, the Peterson Auto Hobby Shop closed its doors April 22.
The Air Force recently identified financial cuts to various force support squadron activities across the service in order to save money and encourage partnerships in the local community. One of the areas cut was appropriated fund positions in the 21st Force Support Squadron’s services facilities. Because of these cuts, members of the 21st FSS leadership made the difficult decision to close the Peterson Auto Hobby Shop.
Headquarters Air Force conducted an Air Force-wide study in December 2011 and independently recommended closure of 46 auto hobby shops across the Air Force. Within Air Force Space Command, four auto hobby shops, including Peterson’s shop, were recommended for closure.
The Peterson Auto Hobby Shop had six employees. Four were nonappropriated funded employees and two were appropriated funded employees. NAF employees are paid through the local NAF fund, which is replenished through profitable services activities on base. The 21st Space Wing was required to cut APF employees based on a secretary of defense mandate to strive for community/base partnerships and enhanced fiscal responsibility.
The auto hobby shop on Peterson AFB averaged less than $1,000 profit annually during the last four years with the support of more than $100,000 in APF labor; support that was lost due to the two APF manager cuts March 31 in the auto hobby shop. With the loss of APF labor support, the 21st FSS anticipated the auto hobby center’s annual financial losses could be as high as $66,000, which would severely impact the fund that is used to reinvest in activities for the base populace. Furthermore, a recent survey found the shop was used by about 2 percent of the entire base population.
“Based on this analysis and the understanding we must be good stewards of limited Airman dollars, we’ve decided to close the auto hobby shop on April 22,” said Lt. Col. Ann Igl, 21st Force Support Squadron commander.
The auto hobby shops at the U.S. Air Force Academy and Fort Carson were not selected for cuts and will continue operating.
“Moving forward, we hope you will consider patronage at the Academy’s auto hobby shop (located at 4562 Capps Rd., 333-4752), or the Fort Carson’s auto hobby shop (located in Building 2427, 526-2147),” Igl added.
The auto hobby shop closure allowed the 21st FSS to explore other options for use of that space. Outdoor recreation will be moving into the auto hobby shop’s current location. This allows the 21st FSS to consolidate efforts into one building to become a “one-stop shop” for all ticketing, travel, arts and crafts, and outdoor recreation activities.
Outdoor recreation will become fully operational out of Building 640 on July 1. All of this year’s end-of-season ski rentals will be returned to the old outdoor recreation facility. The ski shop will move during the summer and become fully operational from the new building by the next ski season.
“Please know this decision was not taken lightly. We must transform to meet obligations in a fiscally constrained environment,” Igl said. “We have been closely analyzing the data since December to ensure the most appropriate decision was made. It is regrettable this excellent facility will no longer be available to our Airmen; after all, that is the reason these activities exist in the first place.”
She also said the auto hobby staff was proud to have served the Peterson AFB community for the past 20 years. “It has been our pleasure,” she said.