Nation’s only retailer of lost luggage emerges from the pandemic with one-of-a-kind online store and U.S. road tour
SCOTTSBORO, AL (April 20, 2022) – Unclaimed Baggage, the nation’s only retailer of lost luggage and a highly popular tourist destination, is emerging from the pandemic with a one-of-a-kind online store and a launch of its belated “50 years, 50 states” road tour.
Located in Scottsboro, Alabama – population 16,000 – Unclaimed Baggage attracts over one milliontourists annually from all 50 states and 40+ countries. These treasure seekers travel far and wide to visit Unclaimed Baggage’s 50,000-square-foot store that stretches more than a city block and to shop the weird and wonderful contents of lost luggage. Store finds range from clothing and sporting goods, to musical instruments, vintage concert tees and even exotic treasures, such as a 40-carat emerald, all priced at a bargain.
While the pandemic caused Unclaimed Baggage to temporarily close its doors for the first time in 50years, it was also the catalyst for a one-of-a-kind ecommerce platform that has attracted more than 5.5 million visitors and counting. Coming out of the pandemic, Unclaimed Baggage is seeing online and foot traffic surge. The retailer is also readying to launch its long-planned celebratory “50 years, 50 states” road tour, which was initially scheduled for March 2020. The tour will begin on May 6, 2022, and visit all 50 states over the span of 14 weeks, surprising and delighting fans with games, prizes and experiences unique to Unclaimed Baggage.
“It’s amazing to see how even here, in Scottsboro, Alabama, Unclaimed Baggage could grow into an international tourist destination,” said Bryan Owens, owner of Unclaimed Baggage and son of the retailer’s founder, Hugo Doyle Owens. “It all started with my father’s big idea, a borrowed pickup truck and a $300 loan to go to Washington, D.C. and buy his first load of unclaimed bags from Trailways Bus Line. Fifty years after that fateful trip, we decided to bring the Unclaimed Baggage experience online and make our unique offering of found treasures accessible to people everywhere, anytime. We look forward to bringing our story on the road and engaging with our fans in their hometowns.”
“50 years, 50 states” Road Tour
Led by “Hugo,” the restored 1965 Chevrolet truck named after Unclaimed Baggage’s founder, the “50 years, 50 states” road tour will begin by following Owens’ original route from Scottsboro to Washington, D.C. Over the course of the tour, Hugo will be seen all over the U.S. – and social media – posing with some of the country’s most iconic and unusual roadside attractions. Tour stops will feature a range of experiences, including The Museum of Oddities; virtual pop-up shops; and fan-favorite games, such as Finders Keepers and Bag Openings, where customers see firsthand what it’s like to sort through an unclaimed bag.
Unclaimed Baggage set the stage for its 50th Anniversary celebration with a contest that enticed fans nationwide to share their favorite experiences for a chance to win the ultimate shopping spree, complete with roundtrip transportation, lodging and meals. From nearly 2,000 entries received from every state, Marylee Jackson of South Carolina earned the grand prize for recounting her first of many trips to Unclaimed Baggage.
Jackson says when an Unclaimed Baggage team member learned they had traveled from South Carolina for two days of shopping, the staffer made them feel like celebrities, buying them coffees at the café and giving them gift bags with coupons and T-shirts. “My gal-pal and I LOVE coming to Unclaimed Baggage because of the fabulous hunt, the amazing finds and the excellent customer service,” Jackson said. “We start planning and anticipating our next annual shopping trip the minute we drive away and head for home.”
Unclaimed Baggage will award a second grand prize winner this summer.
Unique Retail Model
From its inception, Unclaimed Baggage quickly became a word-of-mouth hit, drawing shoppers looking for great deals on the contents of lost luggage. The unique retail model starts in the rare instance a suitcase gets lost in transit. When this happens, airlines conduct a comprehensive 90-day baggage tracing process, after which only 0.03% of bags are deemed truly orphaned. If a suitcase can’t be returned to its owner, often because of a missing identification tag, the airline compensates the traveler. It’s only after this extensive search that Unclaimed Baggage buys the orphaned bag and gives it a second life by selling, recycling or donating the contents. On average, Unclaimed Baggage stocks nearly 7,000 new items daily in-store and 4,500 new items weekly online, creating an unparalleled retail experience for shoppers.
“On average, for every item we sell, we donate another one to incredible organizations helping underserved communities through our ‘Reclaimed for Good’ foundation,” said Owens. “With the wide variety of items that pass through our doors, we are able to support a remarkably diverse set of causes close to our hearts.”
Reclaimed for Good
As part of the road tour, Unclaimed Baggage will make donations at nonprofit organizations along the way. Examples of Reclaimed for Good at work include a partnership with Lions Club International Foundation’s SightFirst program, where Unclaimed Baggage serves as the number one provider of eyeglasses with over one million pairs donated over the last 30 years. Unclaimed Baggage also delivers broken wheelchairs to prisons where they are repaired and distributed to disabled children and adults in need through Wheels for the World. Additionally, through partnerships with Samaritan’s Purse and other organizations, millions of dollars in medical supplies and clothing make their way to communities where they’re needed most all over the globe.
For more information on Unclaimed Baggage and the stops on the “50 Years, 50 States” road tour, please
visit UnclaimedBaggage.com/roadtour. Fans can also track the road tour’s progress by following
#50years50states on social media.
About Unclaimed Baggage
Located in Scottsboro, Alabama, Unclaimed Baggage is a one-of-a-kind retail store that draws one million shoppers annually from all 50 states and around the world. As the country’s only merchant of unclaimed and lost baggage and its contents, Unclaimed Baggage offers a treasure trove of goods that airlines and other hospitality companies have been unable to reunite with their former owners. Besides clothing, footwear, formal wear and electronics, shoppers might find anything from a suit of armor and a 40-carat emerald to a Chinese dragon kite and a puppet created at Henson’s Creative Workshop. The store has made national news for its ever-changing array of unique items from around the world, all sold at an incredible value. Unclaimed Baggage also runs a philanthropic program called Reclaimed for Good. The initiative provides charities with millions of dollars’ worth of unsellable clothes, medical supplies and equipment, such as wheelchairs. Reclaimed for Good’s Love Luggage initiative has also supported thousands of foster children by providing personalized suitcases to replace the garbage bags many typically use to transport their belongings. Learn about Unclaimed Baggage at www.unclaimedbaggage.com or connect online through Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.