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Photos: A Peek Inside Wicker Park's Quirky New Travel Boutique

By Jessica Mlinaric in Arts & Entertainment on Dec 21, 2015 2:46PM

Many businesses are struggling in the Wicker Park real estate battle lately, but Flight 001 has embraced the neighborhood's increasingly posh vibe by quietly opening its latest store at 1616 N. Damen Ave.

Founded in New York in 1999, Flight 001's more than 20 stores worldwide previously included a Gold Coast location. To test a new storefront concept, they decided to move to a significantly smaller, 450-square-foot space in Wicker Park.

The new location will complement the brand's signature travel sundries with other conveniences for travelers. The store plans to invite travel experts into the boutique to consult with customers as part of an In Residence program. The Chicago location is also slated to serve as a key drop-off location for Airbnb customers.

“Sixteen years ago we were aggregating travel products,” said John Sencion, co-founder of Flight 001. “Now we want to aggregate travel in general by embracing travel partners like booking sites, apps, or tourism boards."

The Wicker Park store will also stock Flight 001's bread and butter: quirky, colorful travel-related gear. Sleek luggage stands against the wood-paneled walls, and amenities from jasmine toothpaste to messages in bottles line the store's midcentury shelves.

Other quirky items include neon, TSA-approved bottles for packing liquids, and carry-on cocktail-making kits. Once they return home, visitors can also keep tabs on their travels with the store's scratch-off maps and cork globes.

Customers who present a boarding pass for future travel at checkout will also receive a 15% off discount on select merchandise.