Puerto Rico Exchanges Reopen after Hurricane Fiona
Two days after Hurricane Fiona struck Puerto Rico, the Fort Buchanan and Camp Santiago Exchanges showed their resiliency, reopening with limited hours despite continued flooding and power outages on the island.
“The hardest-hit area was Camp Santiago, but we both have flooding,” said Puerto Rico Exchange General Manager Andrea Frazier. “We have downed trees, debris from mudslides and rocks. But the biggest thing is the flooding in the south and southwest, where whole neighborhoods are underwater.” The Fort Buchanan PX and the Camp Santiago store were not damaged during the storm.
Up to 30 inches of rain fell in some parts of the island, according to news reports. An islandwide power failure also occurred.
More than 240 associates work for the Exchange on Puerto Rico. The associates are resilient, and many are dealing property damage to their homes.
As of Monday night, 90% of the island was without power. But with emergency generators, the Fort Buchanan store was able to open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday to support emergency personnel. “We’re serving the essential mission and mission-critical personnel,” Frazier said. “We’re also open for some retirees who are elderly or disabled.”
Teams from Merchandising, including Fuel and Planning, Allocation and Replenishment; Logistics; Services and Food; Real Estate; Loss Prevention; and IT worked together to ensure the stores were ready to reopen.
The Fort Buchanan store had a good supply of fuel and a delivery of additional fuel was expected Tuesday. Fort Buchanan command limited fuel purchases to 15 gallons per customer, and also placed limits on water and generator purchases. The store was well-stocked with both.
South East Region Vice President Tony Pares praised the Puerto Rico team’s response to the storm.
“I cannot be more proud of the team and their resilience,” he said.
At the outset of hurricane season, merchandising, logistics, services, fuel and other teams work together to ensure that stores in locations prone to severe weather have quick access to an inventory of emergency supplies. Managers at those stores monitor forecasts and coordinate with local commands to ensure that stores are prepared to support the community in the event of a storm.