Unclaimed Baggage

Tourist Barbara Fulton takes a photo of Nancy Jacobson at Opry Plaza on Wednesday. Unclaimed Baggage, the nation’s only retailer of lost luggage, is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a 50-state road tour in a replica of the 1965 Chevrolet pickup, Hugo, that started it all in 1970.

As part of its 50-year celebration, Unclaimed Baggage is visiting all 50 states. It stopped in Nashville on Wednesday.

Based in Scottsboro, Alabama, the company processes unclaimed luggage from airlines and sells, recycles and donates the contents through its on-site location and online store.

“You have to think about the millions of people who travel every single day. It adds up quickly,” said Sonni Hood, public relations and community involvement coordinator at Unclaimed Baggage.

A truck brings all of the unclaimed bags from partner airlines to a 50,000-square-foot warehouse in Alabama, where all of the items are processed and stored. Items are then either put on the physical sale floor in Alabama or the online store.

“Our goal is to keep these items out of the landfill, and that would be to give them new life, to repurpose them however we can,” Hood said.

The 50-state tour lasts from May to September in honor of the milestone.

Before the pop-up shop, the company donated luggage to the charity For Others through Unclaimed Baggage’s nonprofit branch Love Luggage. Love Luggage repurposes the bags and luggage found and gives them to foster children.

Beyond this, Unclaimed Baggage took one of its prized attractions, the orange Chevrolet truck named Hugo, out on the town, driving it down Broadway. Hugo is an exact replica of the truck the founder first used to collect baggage.

On Wednesday, the company set up in front of the Grand Ole Opry House with a few activities and information to draw in passing shoppers. Hugo sat piled high with luggage for a photo opportunity, and there were games for the shoppers to play at the stand.

“Finders Keepers” was a take on “Let’s Make a Deal,” in which participants could pick between three bags and then either trade or keep the contents of the bag. There was anything from Airpods to rubber ducks tucked in the bags for participants to choose.

There was also a mobile version of its Museum of Lost Treasures, where the store displays the oddest and most impressive finds over the years. Notably, there was a stuffed rattlesnake on display to tell the story of the live rattlesnake found in a bag in the 1990s.

One of the main attractions was the “Baggage Experience,” in which participants could open and sort an unsorted bag on the spot. Abigail Breslin and Emily Bache, local influencers known as the Wanderlust Girls, came to do the unbagging. Both had shopped with the brand before and were eager to parse through a bag themselves.

“We like to say that every bag tells a story. You open it up and you can already tell so much about that person,” Hood said.

Unclaimed Baggage moves onto Atlanta after Nashville and will continue to have deals at its online store at https://www.unclaimedbaggage.com/pages/shop throughout the year.

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