Service members peruse the wares of local vendors recently during a holiday shopping bazaar at Camp Arifjan in Kuwait.

COVID-19 Heroes: Holiday Bazaar Brings a ‘Home Away from Home’ to Kuwait

More than 200 service members wait in line to shop at a holiday bazaar at Camp Arifjan in Kuwait.

Store Manager Alex Wilkins and a team of other country national workers run the personal shopper program at Erbil Air Base, Iraq, which has successfully fulfilled over 7,000 customer orders.


Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Exchange associates continue to support Warfighters across Southwest Asia.

Kuwait Service Business Manager Clay Tsehaye recently coordinated with Camp Arifjan command leaders and local vendors to host a bazaar, providing service members an opportunity to shop for the holidays.

“We want to take care of our Warfighters during this pandemic,” Tsehaye said. “We are their home away from home.”

Over 200 Warfighters stood in line to purchase gifts and souvenirs from local vendors at the bazaar, which is scheduled to remain open for a few months and expand to include Buehring. First-day sales reached more than $60,000 and by day nine of the bazaar, sales reached more than $225,000 – a resounding success.

“Our Warfighters are far away from home,” Tsehaye said. “My goal was to provide a safe shopping experience for our troops, and I believe we met that goal successfully.”

Also at Camp Arifjan, at Zone 6, the Snack Avenue is providing another food alternative for troops.

“Snack Avenue is an extremely popular menu option for our customers,” said Kuwait General Manager Ed Hicks. “We not only address the needs of the service members, but we also bring back a small sense of normality in the day-to-day lives of those who take advantage of this menu option.”

Elsewhere in the region, a personal shopper program has been implemented at Erbil Air Base, Iraq, to help meet the community’s needs after the Exchange closed in August.

The personal shopper program there is run by Store Manager Alex Wilkins who, along with a team of other country national workers, has successfully fulfilled more than 7,000 customer orders totaling more than $440,000 in sales.

“We approached command with the personal shopper program, and they jumped at the opportunity,” said Iraq General Manager Shawn Dorcy. “We can continue to meet our customers’ needs while command can continue to focus their attention on Soldier readiness and their mission.”

The Snack Avenue at Zone 6 of Camp Arifjan provides a food alternative for soldiers during the COVID-19 pandemic.


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