Typhoon Lingling severely damaged the Exchange’s Korea Distribution Center at Camp Market over the weekend, with 60 mph winds tearing the roof off a 5,600-square-foot section of the building.
One-third of the building’s freezer space was destroyed—most of the space was dedicated to the DODEA school meal program and national restaurants including Burger King, Subway, Manchu Wok, Dunkin Donuts and Arby’s. All food product was lost—nearly 29,000 cases totaling $1.2 million.
All associates are safe, and the Exchange bakery at Camp Market was not damaged. Beyond short-term menu changes, no disruptions to the school meal program are anticipated as product from the Pacific and the U.S. is being rerouted to Korea.
“Recovering from this storm has touched all directorates and our Pacific team,” said Director/CEO Tom Shull. “This team always pulls together during a crisis—everyone is leaning forward to take care of Warfighters and families in Korea.”
Korea Distribution Center Manager Nick Devincenzo praised the team on the ground for its hard work and quick reaction.
“The building is still standing, and it’s been secured by our facilities maintenance team,” Devincenzo said. “Tavares Hickey, from the Yongsan safety office of the Department of Public Works, was impressed with our team—with how quickly we were able to clear out the lost product so it can be disposed.”
The Exchange is building a new distribution center and bakery at Camp Humphreys as the Army relocates most of its troops there. The Camp Market distribution center and bakery will close once the new buildings are ready next year.
No other Exchange stores in Korea were damaged during the storm. Some stores at Osan AB, Camp Humphreys, USAG Yongsan and Camp Casey closed over the weekend but resumed normal operations Sunday.
“I have received many calls, texts and emails offering support for our Korea Exchange family and the clean-up efforts,” Devincenzo said. “Many of calls came from people who had their own issues to contend with after the storm. The support we have received has been tremendous and speaks to the heart of what the Exchange is about—family serving family.”