Does anyone remember luggage without wheels? If you were born before 1987, no doubt you do. On the other hand, “wheels” have become such an integral part of the travel scene, that it seems they were always there.
In fact, says David Southard, CEO of the LuggageFactory in Ringoes, “A Northwest Airline 747 pilot, Bob Platt, came up with the idea in 1987. He invented the original Rollaboard R wheeled luggage, and he started the Travelpro company.”
Now, wheels are not only on the traditional “suitcase” but on carry-ons, duffles, backpacks, and even garment bags. There is also the 4-wheeled Spinner style, which can move in any direction, and the latest “foldable” wheeled luggage, which folds up when empty for easy storage.
And, whatever your luggage needs, the LuggageFactory at 76 Route 202/31 in Ringoes, can provide you with extensive choices at reasonable prices.
From A to Z
“We have the best selection in the area, and the best prices,” notes Mr. Southard. “Everything is good quality, and we have sales all the time. We do a lot of volume.”
All the major brands of luggage – from A to Z – are available, with Tumi, Briggs & Riley, Travelpro, Samsonite, and Vera Bradley among the most popular.
“We’ve only had Vera Bradley for a year, and it has become our second most popular seller,” Mr. Southard reports. “People like the entire line of Vera Bradley, including luggage, handbags, and accessories, with wristlets special favorites. “And it’s all ages — grandmothers, mothers, and daughters. And husbands come in to buy it for their wives.”
The LuggageFactory was founded in 1980 by Daniel Popkin, and remains a family business, says Mr. Southard, who has been with the company seven years. “At one time, the company even made luggage, but over the years, it evolved into selling all brands and accessories. We also now have a very big on-line business and an extensive website, which was established in 1997.”
Customers will find everything, including traditional luggage of all kinds, duffles, business cases, laptop bags, attache cases, and garment bags.
Even with the advent of wheels, people are opting for lightweight luggage. Gone are the days of heavy leather cases, although handsome leather products, including attaches, laptop and business cases, and messenger bags, as well as wallets, are still available.
“Most bags today are made of nylon and polyester, and ballistic nylon is the strongest and most durable,” points out Mr. Southard. “Another line that is very popular is the polycarbonate lightweight, durable, and hardside style from Rimowa, which is designed in Germany and made in Canada.”
Black is the number one selling color in luggage, but customers also like the very colorful luggage tags, including pom poms, to identify their bags easily. Also popular are “Margarita” tags and doggie tags.
Accessories include TSA locks, security bags, passport holders, lumbar supports, neck pillows, travel blankets, sunglasses “readers” and illuminators (eyeglasses with a light for reading), and travel underwear and socks. “This is very popular,” reports Mr. Southard. “You just wash it out when you’re in the shower, and it dries in two to three hours. We also have great crushable travel hats, and maps of many cities.
“Our staff is very knowledgeable, and we can advise customers on airline rules and security regulations. There have been big changes in checking luggage, and we recommend that people not buy the biggest bag. You have to pay extra to check any bag weighing 50 pounds or more.”
Many of the LuggageFactory employees have been with the company 20 years or more, points out Mr. Southard. Customers are equally loyal, he adds, and regulars come from Mercer, Hunterdon, and Bucks Counties.
“They count on us for a great selection, good quality, and reasonable prices, and really knowledgeable service. Also, many of the luggage lines we carry offer life-time warranties, even if there is airline damage.”
Luggage prices range from $100 to $600-$700, and an annual Tent Sale will be held July 20, 21, 22 with big savings in all categories.
“We have worked hard to build a great reputation, and we guarantee our luggage, our quality, and our prices,” says Mr. Southard. “We are also looking forward to renovating our space for even better customer service.”
The LuggageFactory is open Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 10 to 5. (908) 788-4810. Website: www.luggagefactory.com.