Commissaries and other stores are extending hours to help ease problems resulting from the extension of troops in Iraq in some communities, and the return of servicemembers in others.

Commissaries in Bad Nauheim, Darmstadt, Dexheim, Giessen and Wiesbaden are now open for an additional day of the week. Plans are to keep the hours extended throughout the 1st Armored Division’s deployment extension, according to Gerri Young, Defense Commissary Agency spokeswoman.

Bad Nauheim is now open Sundays, Darmstadt on Tuesdays, Dexheim on Mondays, Giessen on Wednesdays and Wiesbaden on Mondays.

A DECA spokesman said the schedule was adjusted to help “make life easier for the families of the deployed troops” and support personnel remaining behind in the communities.

“We realize that the commissary often becomes a meeting place for friends and neighbors in the American community, so these extra hours are more than just shopping opportunities, they are also a way to help these families stay connected through challenging times,” Melvin Fox, deputy director of DECA Europe, said in a news release.

The new hours are also a way the European Command hopes to accommodate families of the troops returning home, according to Terry L. Batenhorst, the Wiesbaden zone manager for 16 commissary stores. This includes places such as Darmstadt.

“Lately the commissaries have been pretty busy. They’ve really picked up quite a bit,” Batenhorst said. “We even had to open up an additional two days one weekend [at the McCully Barracks commissary in the Wiesbaden area] to help out the initial influx of soldiers. This is just to help troops get that initial load of groceries to fill up the fridge.”

Many Army and Air Force Exchange Service facilities are following suit. For example, in Darmstadt, the Car Care Center on Lincoln Village has extended its oil and filter changes to Saturdays, the Shoppette on Cambrai-Fritsch Casern now opens at 8 a.m. most weekdays, and the food court has extended its hours.

Also, many facilities are offering deals, according to James Tatum, Car Care Center store manager. He said that from May 8 to May 15, for example, oil changes will be $19.95, instead of its usual $21.95.

Other communities have set up their own time changes and deals for returned troops. Call local facilities for specific information.

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