New businesses spark local economy, support Soldiers

Photos and story by Army Spc. John Stimac

CONTINGENCY OPERATING LOCATION Q-WEST, Iraq — A new Iraqi Based Industrial Zone supply shop is scheduled to open Sept. 17 at Contingency Operating Location Q-West, Iraq.

The shop is an IBIZ and Army, Air Force Exchange Service supported vendor that will sell office supplies, furniture and other related items.

Capt. Allen Legere, the IBIZ and retail officer in charge, with the 16th Sustainment Brigade, and a Gulfport, Miss. native, said military units with field ordering officer money and Department of Defense contractors will be the main customers.

“For some of these items it is easier to spend cash and get the product right away instead of going through the supply chain,” said Legere.

Legere said the program is geared toward assisting Iraqi-based companies to jump-start the local economy.

To open a store, potential owners present a business plan to IBIZ, Legere said.

The proposal then goes to the base planning board for approval. If the board approves the proposal, a memorandum of understanding and a one-year land-use agreement must be signed by the business owner, said Legere.

Saban Kuc, owner of the supply shop named Yagiz, and the Superior Shopping Center at Q-West, said it took him roughly three months to get the shop built and running.

Kuc, also known as C.J. to his patrons at Q-West, said the plan for the supply store was approved in only one month by the IBIZ team.

“I have been here for five years and have opened the Superior Shopping Center in 2007,” said Kuc. “Lots of customers were wanting supplies and they like my prices, so I decided to open up Yagiz.”

Legere said the store has already received an order from the mental health facility here, which included everything from monitors to couches and chairs.

Although the shop is not officially open, Kuc said customers are welcome to shop now.

Kuc said he plans to open a bowling alley at Q-West in the near future.

“I like to take care of the Soldiers,” said Kuc. “Doing business is all about trust and being honest with the Soldiers.”

He also said he wants to expand to other bases, including those in Afghanistan.

“I want to help the Americans have some of the same services and businesses that are offered on Q-West,” said Kuc.


news photo
Pfc. Carla Clark and Spc. Antonio Johnson, both Clarkesdale, Miss. natives, with the 2nd Battalion, 198th Combined Arms, out of Senatobia, Miss., browse the new supply shop for supplies.