Unclaimed Baggage Center Founder Doyle Owens Dies

Monday, December 5, 2016
Doyle Owens
Doyle Owens
Doyle Owens, who founded the Unclaimed Baggage Center, died on Saturday evening, Dec. 3, at the age of 85.
 
In 1970, Mr. Owens had the idea to get a $300 loan, borrow a pick-up truck, drive to Washington D.C., and buy a load of unclaimed luggage. He sold the contents from his purchase on card tables at a rent house in his hometown of Scottsboro, Alabama, and quickly realized his idea was a good one. Within a month, he left his job in insurance and became a "bag man" full-time.
 
Over the next 46 years, Unclaimed Baggage Center became a staple locally in Scottsboro and a regionally and nationally-known tourist destination.
Dubbed "The Lost Luggage Capital of the World," UBC is now the nation's largest purchaser of unclaimed baggage and cargo. A one-of-a-kind retail store, UBC provides a unique shopping experience full of an ever-changing array of items from useful to unusual from around the world all at an incredible value.
 
In 1978, UBC moved to its current location on Willow Street in Scottsboro, where it has 40,000 square feet of space and receives over one million visitors a year.
 
It became a true family business when both of Mr. Owen's sons joined the company. In 1995, his son Bryan and wife Sharon purchased the company. While no longer the head of the company, Mr. Owens continued to play a role as founder and ambassador for the company and was seen almost every day in the UBC café engaging with customers. His wife, co-founder of the company and supporter-in-chief Mollie Sue Wilborn Owens, passed away last year on July 4, 2015.
 
Bryan Owens made the following statement on his father: "I am humbled and yes awestruck that God gave Doyle Owens to be MY dad.  Of all men, I am most blessed. I would not be the man I am today without the influence of my dad. My heart grieves but I am overwhelmingly grateful for the life we had together."   
 
Over the years UBC has received attention from the national media including "Oprah," "The Late Show with David Letterman," NBC "Today," The Travel Channel, CNN, The Huffington Post and The New York Times, amongst many others.
 
In 2008, The Alabama State Tourism, along with Alabama's governor, honored UBC with the Director's Award, the highest tourism award in the state. It also received an official Commendation in recognition of UBC's dedication to employees, customers, community and the state. Mr. Owens also received Jackson County Citizen of the Year from the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce and the Scottsboro Sentinel in 2013. The store received the Alabama Retailer of the Year in 2016.
 
The family will receive visitors on Friday evening, Dec. 9, from 6-8 p.m. at the Scottsboro Funeral Home at 1502 County Park Road in Scottsboro.  Doyle's home-going celebration will be held on Saturday, Dec. 10 at 11 a.m. at Calvary Baptist Church at 305 County Park Road in Scottsboro, followed by the burial at Cedar Hill Cemetery near the corner of W. Willow Street and Lost Luggage Lane.
 

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Samaritan's Purse, http://www.samaritanspurse.org/our-ministry/memorial-giving.  Written condolences for the family can be sent to: The Owens Family, care of Unclaimed Baggage Center, 509 W. Willow Street, Scottsboro, Alabama 35768. 



Tennessee Unemployment Holds Steady For 3rd Consecutive Month

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam and Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Burns Phillips today released the statewide unemployment rate for July 2018, and for the third consecutive month the statistic has remained at a historically low 3.5 percent.   Tennessee’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate has not only remained unchanged since May, ... (click for more)

53 Miller & Martin Attorneys Listed In The Best Lawyers In America 2019 Edition

The law firm of Miller & Martin announced 53 of its attorneys have been selected by  Best Lawyers  for inclusion in  The Best Lawyers in America  2019 edition. Additionally, seven of the firm’s attorneys in the Chattanooga metro area were selected as "Lawyer of the Year" for their respective disciplines. Only a single lawyer in each specialty, within a ... (click for more)

Price Has Risen To $143 Million For State's Most Expensive Road Project - Downtown Chattanooga Freeway

The cost of Chattanooga's downtown freeway makeover - estimated at $85 million in 2006 and bid at $126.3 million when it got underway in November 2015 - has climbed to $143 million as issues were encountered along the way, TDOT's Ken Flynn said Monday. The Highway 27 project to provide three lanes in each direction from the I-24 split to the river was already the most expensive ... (click for more)

Signal Mayor Chris Howley Not Running Again; Man Suing Town To Be On Ballot For Council

Signal Mountain Mayor Chris Howley has decided not to seek re-election. He had until noon today to return the petition that he picked up earlier. Rick Saputa, who is suing the city but also picked up a petition for the council, did qualify just before the deadline. Others running for the Town Council include former Mayor Bill Lusk, Councilman Dan Landrum and new-comers ... (click for more)

It’s Time To Restore A Valuable Tool To Prosecutors By Fixing The ACCA

Violent crime rates in our country tripled from 1964 to 1980.  Robbery tripled, murder doubled, and aggravated assault nearly tripled.  This was an alarming time for communities across our nation.   To fight back, Congress passed the Armed Career Criminal Act in 1984, giving federal prosecutors a powerful new tool to deal with the growing rate of violent crime.  ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Trump’s Editorial Coup

I got a great laugh when I heard a consortium of “the greatest newspapers in the world” would band together – as one mighty voice – and collectively castigate President Trump for his repeated attacks on newspapers, their editors and their reporters. “Our words will differ,” said Marjorie Pritchard of the Boston Globe, who called for the group-fest, “but we can agree that such attacks ... (click for more)