This Store Is Where Unclaimed Luggage Gets a Second Chance at Life

Jan 19, 2019

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The Unclaimed Baggage Center is basically a lost luggage abyss of everything that was never claimed at the baggage carousel. This 40,000-square-foot store located in Scottsboro, Alabama, which sells, showcases and donates misplaced luggage from all over the world, receives more than one million items each year.

If an airline can’t reunite a lost bag with its owner after 90 days, the Unclaimed Baggage Center purchases the leftover luggage and repurposes what’s inside. And, with about 7,000 new items stocked each day, visitors can find just about anything. Brenda Cantrell, an Unclaimed Baggage Center’s brand ambassador, has been with the company for the past 20 years and saays some of the most memorable things she’s seen come through include a live snake, a suitcase full of vacuum packed frogs, full suits of armor and a 40.95-carat emerald. The emerald was found in a bag filled with Mardi Gras beads from the ’90s and a collector bought it for $16,000. Some of these more interesting items land a spot in the center’s museum: think the Hoggle puppet from the 1986 film “Labyrinth” or a traditional, hand painted, silk Chinese Dragon kite.

The store has several departments: women’s, men’s, children’s, footwear, formal wear, electronics, sporting goods, jewelry, books and luggage. Every item is sorted, cleaned and tested. The products sell at 20 to 80 percent below retail and items that are deemed unsellable are sometimes recycled or donated to various charities, like Salvation Army and Love Luggage for Foster Children.

The center also offers a variety of experiences and services, such as watching the opening of an unprocessed bag, a personal shopping assistant, a cafe and a pet boarder. And, located next to the main center is a “little” store with bargain deals that’s three floors and has a  4,000-square-foot children’s section.

The store has been around since 1970 and as Alabama’s top tourism attraction, it receives nearly a million visitors each year. Nothing is available online, so you’ll have to physically go to the store if you want to purchase anything. If you’re planning on road-tripping anytime soon, you’ll definitely want to add this stop to your list of spots to hit.  

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