By Senior Airman Tiffany DeNault
21st Space Wing Public Affairs
CHEYENNE MOUNTAIN AIR FORCE STATION, Colo. — Inside Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station underground complex, AAFES recently revamped their shoppette into a 24/7 Avenue C marketplace. The unmanned micro-market provides healthier food options with the touch of a thumb.
As one of the first Canteen Avenue C’s in AAFES nationwide, it offers fresh sandwiches, salads, fruit and much more. To pay, there is a kiosk where the customer scans the food and pays with a customer-created account activated by their thumb, or just pay with cash or credit card.
The healthier food and drink options support the on-the-go lifestyle with filling foods that are either all-natural, organic, gluten-free, vegan, kosher, non-GMO or Choice Plus products. There are also tasty chips and chocolates available for those special occasions.
“With a demanding 24/7 mission and limited food options inside our mountain complex, we needed this marketplace to better serve and take care of our personnel,” said Col. Travis Harsha, Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station installation commander. “Compared to our previous shoppette with limited hours, this marketplace provides 24/7 access with more convenience and healthier food options, all of which enable a healthier, happier and more productive team to take care of our critical mission defending North America.”
While CMAFS is a 24-hour, seven-days-a-week facility, the former shoppette was only open for certain hours of the day, only providing food and services to that shift. Stocked at least twice a week, Avenue C will provide food for all of the shifts.
“I love the fact that it is open all the time and I can come in whenever I want,” said Steve Hayden, 721st Communications Squadron systems center. “People are able to make suggestions and we can possibly get anything we want in here. It’s going to be awesome.”
Avenue C provides vending at Schriever AFB, Peterson AFB, the Air Force Academy and many locations in the Colorado Springs and Pueblo area, such as hospitals and colleges. Tracy Ellis is the assistant manager for Avenue C for the Colorado Springs and Pueblo area.
“Without Tracy Ellis, this operation to bring Avenue C to Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station wouldn’t be possible,” said Jeanette Preston, AAFES service business manager for the Colorado Springs area. “(Ellis) set up and programmed the kiosk along with the rest of the Canteen in order to better service everyone.”
To install an Avenue C in a work area there needs to be at least 500 employees in the work area and/or a 24-hour facility.
“The former shoppette was a loss operation. We were losing about $1,600 a month with all the costs,” explained Patricia Austin, AAFES general manager for the Colorado Springs area. “The Avenue C allows us to not be a loss operation with more food options available and a kiosk that will check people out and track inventory.”
Personnel wanting to provide suggestions for the micro-market should use the suggestion box by the checkout kiosk or call Preston at 576-6543.