Not everyone in the Bay Area enjoys shopping at big box stores, in part because it hurts local small businesses. Purchasing luggage and carry-ons is no different, and with a large proliferation of nationwide chains vying for the consumer dollar, many independent travel-related stores have been forced to shut their doors due to the recession. Today, there are only a handful of family-owned businesses still operating in the South Bay that carry luggage, carry-ons and other travel accessories. The following are five of the best places to buy luggage in the South Bay, all based in the San Francisco Bay Area.
1742 W. El Camino Real
Mountain View, CA 94040
Although the storefront appears small, this business has a great selection of quality luggage, backpacks, wallets, handbags, briefcases and travel accessories. The store is located near the intersection of El Camino Real (Highway 82) and El Monte Avenue, just a few minutes west of Highway 85. Some of the brands Choice Luggage carries are Eagle Creek, Samsonite, Jansport, Dooney and Burke and Tumi. This long-established local business has received several positive reviews for both quality of merchandise and customer service.
East West Saree Music and Gifts
1046 E. El Camino Real
Sunnyvale, CA 94087
This locally owned business is more like a small appliance store, selling everything from rice cookers and vacuum cleaners to cappuccino makers and commercial grinders. In addition to others items like kitchen utensils, DVD players, health and personal care products, the store also carries luggage and carry-ons from American Tourister and Samsonite. East West Saree Music and Gifts can be found near the intersection of El Camino Real (Highway 82) and South Mary Avenue, about a mile east of Highway 85. The store also has an extensive inventory of a variety of products on its website, which resembles a large online nationwide chain business.
9 Stanford Shopping Center
Palo Alto, CA 94304
Family owned and operated since 1946, Edwards Luggage is a well-respected Bay Area business with a large store at the Stanford Shopping Center. The upscale store sells quality luggage and leather goods from name brands including Briggs and Riley, Lipault and Rimowa. Other merchandise available at the store includes briefcases, rolling cases, backpacks, handbags and wallets and travel accessories like travel clocks, security wallets and luggage tags. Edwards Luggage has won several Retailer of the Year awards from top national luggage and leather manufacturers such as Hartmann, Tumi and Victorinox.
Going in Style
609 Stanford Shopping Center
Palo Alto, CA 94304
South Bay shoppers have another excellent store to visit for quality luggage at the Stanford Shopping Center. Going in Style likes to consider itself as a consumer’s single source for all travel accessories, from adapters and country-specific appliances to luggage and packing organizers. Among the high-quality luggage sold is Baggalini, Eagle Creek and Victorinox. The store also features a convertible carry-on bag by well-known travel journalist Rick Steves. Shoppers can also find laptop briefcases, duffel bags, garment bags and backpacks in this fine store favored by many residents.
1177 Kern Avenue
Sunnyvale, CA 94085
This popular Bay Area-based sporting goods store is not normally associated with luggage, but there’s actually an entire section devoted to camping and travel. The types of luggage sold at all stores are lightweight and durable, with some on wheels, like the GoLite Travelite Carry On. Other well-known names for luggage, carry-ons and backpacks found at the store are Dakine, The North Face, Timbuk2 and Rick Steves. The Sports Basement recently opened its newest store in the South Bay city of Campbell.
Related: Take a Relaxing Daytrip to Saratoga
Randy Yagi is a freelance writer covering all things San Francisco. In 2012, he was awarded a Media Fellowship from Stanford University. His work can be found on Examiner.com.