Happening nearby: AAA Washington opens new Cruise & Travel store

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Alderwood Cruise and Travel Presented by AAA General Manager Loren Holmberg, AAA Washington Public Relations Manager Chelsea Looney and AAA Washington Vice President Marketing and Communications stand in front of a video screen at the new AAA Washington store in Lynnwood. (Photo by David Pan)
Alderwood Cruise and Travel General Manager Loren Holmberg, AAA Washington Public Relations Manager Chelsea Looney and AAA Washington Vice President Marketing and Communications George Johnson (right) stand in front of a video screen at the new AAA Washington store in Lynnwood. (Photo by David Pan)

AAA Washington opens the doors to its newest retail location, Alderwood Cruise & Travel Presented by AAA, Monday in the former ReclinerLand location, 3000 196th St. SW., in Lynnwood.

The Cruise & Travel store is a relatively new concept for AAA Washington with Lynnwood being only the third of its kind in Washington. The Lynnwood, Everett and Mill Creek offices have been consolidated into the new Lynnwood location.

What can you expect to find at the Cruise & Travel store? The answer is the usual travel assistance members have come to expect and a renewed focus on travel.

“The whole store is based on travel,” AAA Washington Public Relations Manager Chelsea Looney said.

Unlike the traditional office setting, Cruise & Travel offers more of a modern look. When people enter the location they’ll see large video screens and inviting open space. Cruise & Travel has a retail section that offers different accessories, such as wallet protectors, travel books, clothing and luggage. Travelers also can have passport photos taken.

“We’ve expanded the retail section with travel items that you can’t find anywhere else,” Looney said.

Drivers can pick up tour books, maps and TripTik, AAA’s personalized directions/maps.

Lynnwood was the ideal location for AAA Washington to open its third Cruise & Travel location.

“This is a vibrant retail area,” AAA Washington Vice President of Marketing George Johnson said. “It’s a perfect location.”

Cruise & Travel will cater to both those people who like to go online and those who prefer to work with a travel agent. Computers are available for people to do research.

For those who want to talk to a real live person or who have complex travel arrangements to make, travel agents are available to offer assistance.

The new Lynnwood location offers a conference room that AAA Washington hopes will be used by community organizations. A 90-seat screen theater can be set up within a few minutes for travel presentations.

Loren Holmberg was hired as General Manager of the new Lynnwood store, which will employ 30 people. Holmberg spent more than a decade with Apple and helped launch the first Apple store in the Pacific Northwest in 2003.

“It’s really about the small details and creating an environment where people can engage,” Holmberg said. “From the AAA branded and brewed coffee to the living room atmosphere, we’ve really created a destination for people to learn, shop, interact and enjoy their traveling planning experience.”

In addition to travel planning assistance, Cruise & Travel also offers insurance. AAA’s travel and insurance services are available to members and non-members.

A community open home is scheduled for 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 6. A ribbon cutting celebration will be at noon with AAA Washington CEO Kirk Nelson. AAA Washington is celebrating the grand opening Jan. 2-31 with drawings for a 7-day cruise, vacation vouchers, luggage and other prizes.

Hours are 9 a.m.-7 p.m., Monday through Friday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturdays.

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