With an ingenious idea and $300, in April of 1970, Doyle Owens borrowed a pick-up truck to pick up his first load of unclaimed items. Now 45 years later his dream has grown into a 40,000-square-foot store that attracts nearly 1 million visitors from every state and countries around the world.
Now, to mark its 45th anniversary, Unclaimed Baggage Center (UBC) is hosting an anniversary party at its Scottsboro, Ala. store on April 18, 2015.
“What Mr. Owens started nearly half a century ago has evolved into a truly one-of-a-kind store that offers visitors an experience they can’t find anywhere else in the world,” said Brenda Cantrell, brand ambassador for UBC. “Over the past 45 years, the store has grown into one of Alabama’s hottest shopping destinations.”
UBC has planned an anniversary party that will showcase both the tradition of the store and its uniqueness. The 45th Anniversary celebration will start with free cake at 10 a.m. At 11:30 a.m., there will be a “60-second Showdown,” which is an entertaing interactive competition between three guests, challenging them to put on as many unclaimed garments and other items from a bag as possible in 60 seconds. A special edition of the “Unclaimed Baggage Experience” will take place at 2:30 p.m. and special savings will be available in the store throughout the day.
In 1970 Doyle Owens sold the contents of his first unclaimed luggage purchase on card tables in an old rented house, but the venture was an instant success. Over the next four decades, relationships with airline and other transportation companies across the country were forged. Now, the store collects, cleans and categorizes over 1 million items each year. This amounts to about 2 million pounds of goods each year.
Unclaimed items are purchased by UBC to sell only after an extensive and exhaustive 90-day search by the airlines to reunite a bag with its rightful owner. UBC sorts, cleans, refurbishes and prices over one million unclaimed items each year. Since most travelers take their best with them or purchase special articles while they are away, many of the items received by UBC are of high quality and in excellent condition.