MANHATTAN, Kan. (WIBW) -- With their mission accomplished, thousands of Fort Riley soldiers are settling back into like here at home, fresh off their most recent deployment to Afghanistan. Their return is helping boost the local economy.
In recent weeks, there have been a number of emotional homecomings at Fort Riley as members of the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team and the 1st Infantry Division's Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion have returned from Afghanistan,
As the troops get back into the flow of things stateside, they’re spending time with their families and some of their hard-earned money.
From restaurants and retail stores to car dealerships and furniture centers, soldiers are turning to local business for the things they need and other items that they added to their wish lists while they were deployed.
"I think business overall has been good at all of our stores, not just here in Manhattan but also in Junction City and Abilene and even in our Salina stores so I think the impact of Fort Riley is great," said John Feldkamp, owner of Feldkamp’s Furniture.
"We see our traffic count up a lot and it’s a little different in today’s world because so many of the soldiers have already been online over in Afghanistan and they already have their car basically ordered and we have them ready for when they get back for pick up and delivery," added Joe Bowers, General Manager of Briggs Auto in Manhattan.
More troops will continue to return to Fort Riley in the coming weeks.
"It’s great for us to see them and have them back home and we thank them for their service that they’ve done for us to keep us safe here and anything that we can do to help them, we’re more than happy to do it," Feldkamp said.
"It’s great to see them back and with their families and they’re great people to represent our country and so we’re thrilled with that. Of course, we’re also thrilled with the business they bring to the entire community of Manhattan and Junction City," Bowers told WIBW.
During fiscal year 2011, Fort Riley provided nearly $2 billion in economic impact to communities in the Central Flint Hills Region.