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Total Travel gears up with new travel store

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Ray and Carrie Carpenter set up a display case in their travel accessories store — Sagewood Bag Company — inside Total Travel on Monday.

MORE INFO

Sagewood Bag Company at Total Travel

What: A complete travel store located within the travel agency’s main offices.
Where: 540 N. Mission St., Wenatchee
When: 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday
Info: For Total Travel, call 663-8179 or visit totaltravelwen.com. For Sagewood, visit Amazon for the online store, the company’s Facebook page or call 663-4065.

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WENATCHEE — Total Travel now really is totally travel.

The local agency, now in its 28th year, joined last month with Wenatchee-based Sagewood Bag Co. to open an in-house travel store in a former waiting room at the center of Total Travel’s offices.

It’s a good fit,” said Scott Thompson, Total Travel’s general manager. “It puts a great selection of travel items at our clients’ fingertips and helps make us a one-stop travel shop.”

Owned by Ray and Carrie Carpenter of Wenatchee, Sagewood Bag Co.’s new retail space offers loads of excursion essentials: anti-theft suitcases and bags, backpacks, money belts, travel wallets, umbrellas, bags for toiletries and computers and lots of other on-the-go gear.

We like to stock items that we’ve used and tested in our travels,” said Ray. “We think they can make travel easier, safer, more secure.”

The Carpenters specialize in anti-theft suitcases and bags that include a steel-mesh lining — a web of steel cable — to prevent bad guys from slashing it open and grabbing its contents. Brands include Travelon and Pacsafe.

Many of Sagewood’s bags and wallets also incorporate RFID-blocking materials to protect credit card and passport information from electronic theft. The Carpenters say such theft can be common in international destinations, where criminals lurk with electronic scanners to read info on computer chips embedded in ID and credit cards.

Sagewood got its start in 2006 when Carrie, then a registered nurse, began selling upscale handbags from an online store. That venture grew steadily for five years, said Carrie, until she retired in 2011 and, with Ray’s help, opened an Amazon store, signed up travel-gear vendors and began selling suitcases, travel bags and other selected items.

Now, said the Carpenters, gross sales from Sagewood total around $400,000 a year — large enough that they’ve opened a small shipping-and-receiving warehouse on North Wenatchee Avenue. “This mom-and-pop operation really keeps us busy,” smiled Ray.

Thompson said that he and the Carpenters, travel clients for years, had talked for a decade about a bricks-and-mortar store linked to Total Travel. They just weren’t sure where or how it’d take shape.

Then the time felt right to pull it all together and this space was available,” said Carrie. “Our ideas and planning were coming true.”

The Carpenters continue to travel regularly — once or twice a year on cruises or customized tours — and to use the travel gear they sell.

Carrie’s must-have travel item? “I love the Pacsafe handbags because they’re some of the most secure available. The straps are built around steel cables to keep the bag from being snipped and snatched.”

Ray’s must-have item? “A money belt for cash and credit cards. Why take a chance on having important stuff stolen?”

Sagewood’s retail space at Total Travel’s “should also attract new clients — people looking for quality travel gear — and help remind folks that travel agencies are still around, still providing travel services.”

Reach Mike Irwin at 509-665-1179 or . Read his blog Everyday Business or follow him on Twitter at @MikeIrwinWW.

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