February 25, 2017

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Unclaimed Baggage


Ever wonder where unclaimed baggage goes to die? Coming up, how a one-time purchase started a successful one-of-a kind business.

In 1970, Doyle Owens of Scottsboro, Alabama got a call from his buddy in Washington D.C. The friend worked for a bus line, and he told Owens he had some unclaimed luggage he needed to dispose of.

Owens borrowed money and a car and went to D.C. to bring the luggage home for re-sale. Surprised at how rapidly he was able to move the merchandise, he continued buying and selling. Quick success moved him to full speed ahead.

Within a few years, he turned to airlines.

While airlines successfully return more than 99.5% of lost bags – sometimes they just can’t find the original owners. So Owen began making deals with all the major airlines to buy pieces of luggage whose owners could not be identified within 120 days.

And then he built it – the huge, 40,000 square foot store called the Unclaimed Baggage Center in Scottsboro.

It’s definitely a “build it and they will come” place. This one-of-a-kind store has become a major tourist destination. Shoppers find an amazing array of new and used high-priced items – at drastically reduced prices – and not just clothing, watches and jewelry but also computers, laptops, clock radios, infant car seats and strollers.

And that’s not the half of it. Check out some of the wacky items that end up there — things like a full suit of armor, a naval guidance system, a live rattlesnake, a 230-year old violin, plus lost Egyptian artifacts! Honest!

Check out their “You Found What?” page on their website.

It’s gotten a lot of attention too — from the likes of David Letterman, Fox News, the Today Show. Oprah Winfrey and the CBS Early Show. And get this – the center gets around 7,000 new bags a day! They need them too — because more than a million customers shop at the center every year.

Doyle Owens exemplifies an axiom featured on our website: Use a bad experience to create a new business.

Buy unclaimed baggage and resell the contents at bargain prices. Now Why I Think of That?

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