skip to main content

Listen

Read

Watch

Schedules

Programs

Events

Give

Account

Donation Heart Ribbon

Le Travel Store Shuts Its Doors After 37 Years

Evening Edition

Aired 7/12/13 on KPBS News.

The owners of the first travel store in the country say the business has drastically changed and they're getting out.

The owners of the first travel store in the country say the business has drastically changed and they're getting out.

Le Travel Store first opened in Pacific Beach in 1976 and eventually moved near Horton Plaza and later, Fourth Street. For owners Bill Keller and his wife, Joan, it was probably a sign of the times when the store's neighbor, the adult F Street Bookstore, closed up shop about a year ago after being in business for more than five decades.

"Well we opened up next door and no problem for us, but we've seen a lot of changes in the neighborhood," Keller said.

The Kellers opened Le Travel Store 37 years ago. It was the first travel store of its kind in the country, offering luggage, maps, books and apparel under one roof. The store even went online in the late '90s and did well until a few years ago.

"So what's happened in our business is Amazon has really taken over, not just selling books, but they're selling a lot of stuff that we sell," Keller said.

Joan Keller said the store has also seen more people "show rooming" or coming in to handle or try on items, then buying them online for less.

"I fear that there won't be businesses like ours for too much longer to show the products," she said.

The couple only planned to be in business for two years and are grateful for such a long run.

The building is currently in escrow and expected to close August 18th.

Comments

Avatar for user 'aztec69'

aztec69 | July 12, 2013 at 6:09 p.m. ― 1 year, 5 months ago

I was one of Le Travel Store's first customers when they opened their Horton Plaza store. I remember it vividly because I had never bought an intenational airline ticket ad the gal who sold it to me had never sold one before. We managed to get through the process together and that launched my career as a travel writer many, many years ago. Thanx Bill and Joan for the many years of service to the community. I hope you have many years of travel ahead. Bon voyage!

( | suggest removal )