For more than sixty years, the Coast Guard Exchange has provided savings and value to the Coast Guard family while contributing funds to MWR programs.



Over six decades have passed since the inception of our legacy. In the illustrious pages of the 1950 Coast Guard Exchange Manual lies the blueprint for establishing and orchestrating the vibrant tapestry of Coast Guard Exchanges, Exchange Activities, and Morale Funds across our units. Empowered by the Chief of the Office of Personnel, this historical manuscript bestowed the authority that birthed these programs. Picture a time when these exchanges were quaint and humble, reminiscent of cozy corner shops, overseen with care by the commanders of the local bases.


As the 1970s ushered in a cultural shift akin to the transformative impact of bell-bottom jeans on fashion, winds of change swept through the Coast Guard Exchange. In the annals of the 1973 Non-Appropriated Activities manual lies a treasure trove of policies, regulations, and procedural amendments that revolutionized the landscape of Coast Guard Exchanges, both onshore and afloat. Under the astute guidance of the Coast Guard Comptroller within Commandant (G-F), a magnificent fusion occurred: a myriad of exchange stores, service clubs, and vibrant non-appropriated revenue-generating ventures seamlessly converged into the spectacular tapestry known as the Coast Guard Non-Appropriated Fund Activities (NAFA). Embracing this transformative wave, many of our exchanges donned the mantle of a fresh identity, adopting the vibrant and catchy moniker of "NAFA."


The early 1980's brought a "new wave" for the Coast Guard Exchange system. Oversight of the Exchange System now rested with the Office of Resale Systems, G-FRS. In 1987, under the Coast Guard realignment, oversight of exchange activities by district offices ended and the NAFA name was no longer used. The new organizational title "Coast Guard Exchange System" (CGES) was established for use in referring to the service-wide system of retail activities.


Initially, there was a collaborative endeavor among exchanges to enhance merchandising and promotional activities. The inception of an exchange-wide advertising program took place in 1990, featuring the production of four printed flyers annually. Subsequently, in 1997, the Coast Guard Exchange System underwent a relocation from its headquarters in Washington, DC, to Chesapeake, Virginia. During this transition, it was integrated with the Field Support Office of Portsmouth, VA.


Over the course of this decade, there was a significant shift towards centralization in various components of the Exchange. Operations that were previously managed at the individual store level, such as procurement and human resources, were relocated to the Exchange headquarters in Chesapeake, VA. This strategic move aimed to streamline processes and enhance organizational efficiency.

In 2001, the centralization of accounting cost centers took place, followed by the reorganization of Exchanges into four regions in 2003, each reporting to designated region managers. The establishment of the Finance Center in Cleveland, OH occurred in 2005, and merchandising became a centralized function at the Chesapeake headquarters.

Initiating in 2006, the first centrally planned reinvestment in CGX stores commenced, leading to major renovations scheduled over several years. Since its implementation, more than 30 CGX locations, including all seven stores at Coast Guard training centers, have undergone reconstruction or remodeling.

The year 2007 marked the introduction of the new CGX logo, adopted across all Coast Guard Exchange advertising, shopping bags, and new store signs.

By March 2009, the Community Services Command (CSC) was established to oversee the Coast Guard Exchange, serve as the program manager for MWR, and act as the Coast Guard's non-appropriated funds center of excellence. Operating under the Personnel Service Center service line and reporting to the Deputy Commandant for Mission Support, CSC relocated the operations of the Cleveland Finance Center to new centralized offices in Chesapeake, VA that fall.

In October 2009, a milestone was reached with the opening of the Coast Guard Exchange's "flagship" exchange in Chesapeake, VA, boasting a substantial 40,000 square feet—more than double the size of the next largest Coast Guard Exchange.


Today, the Coast Guard Exchange continues to thrive in its mission of delivering high-quality goods and services at cost savings for those safeguarding the homeland, while also contributing dividends to MWR programs. With 67 stores spanning 24 states, Puerto Rico, and an online presence at, CGX remains dedicated to offering savings and value. The convenience of accessing your CGX savings is now as close as your laptop, tablet, or smartphone!

Notably, we're making history by leveraging the synergy of our past efforts with today's technology. This strategic integration has led to enhanced operations, resulting in the most significant contributions ever made to Coast Guard MWR programs. Over the last five years alone, CGX has contributed an impressive $13.2 million to Coast Guard MWR programs.