Vail Valley Bizwatch: Baggage Cheque has wide selection of luggage
January 21, 2014
Business name: Baggage Cheque.
Location: 242 E. Meadow Drive, Vail Village, next to the Austria Haus and around the corner from the Covered Bridge.
Date opened: The store has been under new ownership since May.
Owner: Jennifer Hopkins.
What goods or services do you provide? We sell rolling luggage, duffel bags, garment bags, day packs and ski and boot bags from some of the luggage industry's leading brands including Rimowa, Briggs & Riley, Lipault Paris, Eagle Creek, Timbuk2, and Baggallini. We are also bringing back Victorinox and Tumi.
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We sell a variety of traditional and whimsical travel accessories from locks, adapters and travel pillows to medical kits and personal alarms. We have a wide selection of travel-themed gifts and home decor including art prints, globes, maps and books. We also take passport photos and can coordinate warranty repairs (shipping and communicating with manufacturers) for a small fee. We ship throughout the U.S. and deliver to local hotels in Vail and Avon.
What's new or exciting at your place? I bought the Baggage Cheque at the end of April from longtime Vail resident Colleen McCarthy. Since then, I've remodeled the space and brought in new brands (Lipault, Timbuk2) and new product lines including globes and travel-themed gifts. I can also special order items for customers from any of our current vendors as well as Liberty Mountain, a distributor of more than 600 outdoor and travel brands.
What strategy do you use to differentiate your business from your competition? Rather than a name brand store that only carries its own brand of luggage or bags, we have a selection from a number of different brands in a wide variety of sizes and styles. We pride ourselves on our customer service and go out of our way to help our customers find the perfect gear to fit their individual travel needs.
What philosophy do you follow in dealing with your customers? What can your customers expect from you? Traveling is my passion, and I understand firsthand its joys and challenges. Getting to your destination is often tiresome, uncomfortable and inconvenient, yet traveling and exploring new places and cultures is one of the most enriching experiences a person can have. There are so many great products out there to help keep you organized, secure and comfortable while you travel, and sometimes it's overwhelming to try and figure out what you need. That's where we come in.
Whether a customer is currently on a trip or getting ready to embark on one, our role is to outfit them with the right gear to ensure they enjoy their entire travel experience and get the most out of their journey. Our customers can expect a high level of personal attention and service when they come into the store.
Tell us a little about your background, education and experience. My mom was a flight attendant for TWA and my dad was a fighter pilot before I was born and had a long career in aviation. My parents instilled in me a love of travel from an early age. I spent four years living in Scotland, where I earned my undergraduate degree in international relations and management from the University of St. Andrews. I also spent a year in London, where I earned a masters degree in politics of the world economy from the London School of Economics.
So far I've traveled to 29 countries and a majority of U.S. states.
I moved back to Colorado from Africa this past year to be closer to my brother and his family, who live in Silverthorne. I started my own luggage store in Breckenridge, but when the amazing opportunity came up to acquire the Baggage Cheque and move to Vail, I jumped at it. I'm drawn to Vail for its international flavor — from its architecture and visitors to its world class dining and entertainment. I'm excited to call the Vail Valley home and to carry on with the Baggage Cheque brand.
What is the most humorous thing that has happened at your business since you opened? During the International Dance Festival this past year, a dancer from New York City came into the store looking for a suitcase for his act that he could fit inside. It's not an everyday occurrence to help a customer find a suitcase that can fit a person's entire body. It was highly amusing watching him try to fit inside.