Lost Treasures From
Around the World
Click on photos to enlarge views
of the benefits of travelling in an RV is we discover numerous unique
places en route. Since we
make the journey to our destination part of our adventure, we try to
explore new stops along the way. While
in Florida last winter RV friends recommended we visit the Unclaimed
Baggage Center (UBC) in Scottsboro, Alabama just off highway 72. A quick
check of the map determined this was not far from highway 75 --- our route
home. The more we discovered about this unusual place the more we knew we
just had to include a visit.
Wedding & Jewellry
The choice in this One-of-a-Kind
boutique is like No other!
were several campgrounds in the area, along with a wide selection of
hotels so it made sense we should check it out and share the news with
everyone. Our 10-day stay over Easter at the unique Crawford RV Park, a
member of Passport America was most enjoyable. Parks in the Passport
Discount Camping Club system offers a 50% discount to its members.
Although this is a very versatile tourist friendly area, by far the
main highlight is several visits to the Unclaimed Baggage Center (UBC).
Walking into such a distinctive place is like walking into a giant candy store. This one-of-a-kind boutique overflows with choice treasures where the stock continually changes. Over 7000 pieces of merchandise (all new to the store) arrive each day---one million items are collected, refurbished and sorted annually. UBC purchases all unclaimed bags sight unseen from airline companies around the world. These transactions are similar to buying millions of surprise grab bags to resell for 50-80% off the suggested retail price.
the entrance ‘Cups’, a Starbucks expresso café welcomes visitors to
this outstanding place. As far as the eye can see racks of clothes invite
browsers to take their time and enjoy the experience.
To make it easy, clothes are sized and displayed in specialized
categories; each department is organized for easy shopping. Cameras, eye
glasses--both prescription in designer frames and sun glasses, CD’s,
computers, of course luggage, shoes, sporting goods, quality and fashion
evening wear to
outer wear jackets plus suits, sports coats and slacks for men and dress
clothes for women are just a few of the items you will find.
A complete line of men’s dress and casual shirts or ladies
blouses, T’s, jeans, pants, shorts, bathing suits, beachwear, new
lingerie and so much more are waiting for you to discover. During our
visit there was a wide selection of quality fishing gear and several golf
club sets. Scuba gear was also available for the right owner. Try to
imagine all the things that travellers would pack for an airline ride and
it probably will turn up one day in the UBC.
'Cups' Starbucks Cafe
Books and more
the jewellery counter expensive treasures displayed under glass were
available at a price, such as a rare large Emerald mounted in a ring with
an appraisal value of $29,500.00; it was on sale for a mere $14,750.00 for
the right customer. Merchandise
moves fast, so if you see something that strikes your fancy you had better
buy it then because it most likely won’t be around tomorrow.
On our first visit I saw two extra special quality necklaces
sporting the name of Barbara, by the next day they had both been sold.
A large selection of fashionable costume style earrings is
displayed for easy choosing---my earring supply is now well stocked. The selection of available treasures in this fascinating
place seems to go on and on. The
UBC is also a clearing depot for lost freight shipments.
During our stop an entire shipment of room-sized oriental rugs,
many household objects d’arts, paintings and other necessities for
setting up home were on sale as well.
reading this, you may think to yourself
“I don’t want somebody’s old used junk”.
Relax, John and I purchased several shirts, tops (new, still with
the original store tags on them) for $6.00 to $8.00 along with a new
(still tagged) designer bathing suit for $18.00.
We both purchased a couple of good, but not new, shirts for a mere
$4.00 each. All the merchandise comes from lost luggage or articles left
on planes or in airport plus unclaimed air cargo.
In reality the owner, not the baggage is lost. Although only .002%
of all airline baggage goes unclaimed, the sheer number of airline
passengers travelling the world translates as mega amount of merchandise.
Airline companies around the world try diligently to find the owners of
the lost luggage for a period of 90 days before they begin insurance
settlement claims---they frequently keep looking for over 100 days or
Back to Top
Rare finds set up in the Museum
the airlines complete their search and payouts etc, the bags are purchased
by UBC and transported to their facility to sort and sell. Older items are
thrown away; some merchandise is donated to charities but many nearly new
and brand new treasures are sale priced and entered into inventory.
Original store tags are left in place for the info of the new
owners. When necessary the nearly new clothes, such as the above wedding
dresses, are washed and ironed or dry cleaned before they reach the
display racks. Just as an example of the savings, one of those beautiful
wedding dresses was a size 2 and priced at a mere $150.00. Since so much
fresh merchandise arrives daily, frequent repeat visits are always an
times lost baggage includes several expensive objects.
In 1997 Unclaimed Baggage Center opened a central museum to show off some
of their unusual acquisitions. Easter
2002, a three-foot Hoggle from the 1980 movie ‘Labyrinth’ staring David
Bowie watched over the museum. There was also rare coins, a vintage set of
bagpipes, unique oriental robes plus much more. Unfortunately the museum pieces
are not for sale. A concierge,
children’s play area and clock tower are a few more amenities that enhance a
visit to the Unclaimed Baggage Center
The UBC began as a dream of Doyle Owens and his wife Sue in 1970 when they sold goods part time from temporary tables. The present Scottsboro flagship retail centre stretches over 50,000 square fee of space; it takes up an entire city block. Doyle’s son Bryan is the current president and CEO. If a large stock of particular items surface such as crutches etc. they are donated to an agency that can use them. Throughout the year UBC host special sales such as a big ski sale during the first Saturday in November. Jewelry, art promotions and other ‘special days’ ensure visits to the Unclaimed Baggage Center are always interesting.
is open Monday to Friday 9 am-6 pm and Saturday 8 am-6 pm Central Time--- they
are closed on Sunday. Although the main store is located in Scottsboro, Alabama,
UBC also has a smaller store in Boaz, Alabama. You can call 256 259 1525 for
info or shop on line at www.unclaimedbaggage.com
where over 200 items are added daily. What’s
amazing at the UBC either on line or in the store is a visit is like going on a
treasure hunt, you never know what gem you will find. There is a lot
to see and do in this area. For more info on Scottsboro and Jackson County, call
the Chamber of Commerce at 256 259 5500 or 800 259 5508 or log onto www.sjcchamber.org.
Enjoy your adventures.
Back to Top
Back to Destinations