Military students have chance at back-to-school survival kits

Army & Air Force Exchange Service

Military students headed back to school this fall can score one of 10 back-to-school survival kits in the Army & Air Force Exchange Service and Procter & Gamble’s Back-To-School sweepstakes.

Authorized shoppers 18 and older can visit through Aug. 30 and submit a photo showing how their student is preparing to go back to school to win a share of $4,500 in prizes. Ten winners will each receive a $200 Exchange gift card, a backpack and products from Procter & Gamble, including everyday essentials such as Aussie shampoo, Olay body wash, Puffs tissue and more.

“Entering this sweepstakes is the ultimate way to prep for the new school year,” said Wright-Patterson Exchange General Manager Adam Shaw. “These prizes are too cool for school!”

Honorably discharged veterans who have confirmed their eligibility to shop online can enter too. Veterans can visit to learn more. Department of Defense and Coast Guard civilians and retirees can also enter.

No purchase is necessary to win. Winners will be selected on or about Sept. 9.

Unique opportunities for all size businesses

When the success of Gabriela Fuentevilla’s at-home tamale business began to outgrow her house, she looked for a way to expand her operation – and found a perfect partner in the Army & Air Force Exchange Service.

As the spouse of an active-duty Airman at Ellsworth Air Force Base and a mom, Fuentevilla needed a business plan that would work for her schedule and lifestyle. She reached out to the Exchange, and soon after, Tia Gaby’s Kitchen was serving up authentic Mexican food to the Ellsworth community.

“I would definitely recommend doing business with the Exchange,” Fuentevilla said. “As a new business owner, I did not know half the stuff I needed. They walked me through everything.”

The Exchange is always looking to connect businesses with military shoppers. From name brands to start-ups, business of all types can find a home at the Exchange, which serves military communities around the world, operating in all 50 states and more than 30 countries.

The Exchange has a customer base of 33.5 million shoppers and a range of business types, including restaurants, mall storefronts, kiosks, micro markets, food trucks, services such as salons and dry cleaners, and more. It ranks as the 54th-largest U.S. retailer.

“The Exchange is a great fit for many businesses because we have such a diverse portfolio,” said Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Kevin Osby, the Exchange’s senior enlisted adviser. “We have more than 3,400 concessions and are always looking to connect our military communities with the products and services they want and need.”

Veteran- and military-spouse-owned businesses make especially strong partners, given their familiarity with the military lifestyle.

“To serve the military community is very rewarding for me as a military spouse,” Fuentevilla said. “Most people in the military are missing a little bit of home. I get to bring a piece of my home to these Airmen.”

Companies that do business with the Exchange gain increased brand visibility, a proven environment for testing new products and a welcoming culture for entrepreneurs, as well as flexible leases, fees and formats.

These business partners also help support the Exchange’s mission of improving the lives of service members and their families, as 100% of Exchange earnings are reinvested in the military community, including through support for critical military quality-of-life programs. In the last 10 years, the Exchange benefit has provided $3.5 billion for these programs.

“The Exchange is a launchpad for businesses,” Osby said. “It can help businesses big and small achieve success while supporting our military heroes.”

Retail wholesale businesses, long- and short-term concessions, personal services, vending and restaurant providers can find out more by visiting and clicking the “Doing Business with the Exchange” link under “About the Exchange” at the bottom of the page. More information is also available at

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