Another local tradition is coming to an end: Miami International Airport will no longer auction off lost-and-found items left by passengers.
Goodwill Industries of South Florida has contracted with MIA to buy, in bulk, the luggage’s the airport has been regularly collecting for the auctions.
Initially, the South Florida non-profit will only sell the recovered MIA merchandise at two of their local stores: Central Superstore at 2125 NW 21st St., and the new Little Havana Superstore at 982 SW Eighth St.
“The reason for this limited availability of the lost-and-found merchandise is to allow Goodwill to study and determine its shelf life, since the goods will be specially ticketed for tracking and monitoring,” said Lourdes de la Mata-Little, spokeswoman for Goodwill in a news release.
The overhaul of the process came because the Miami-Dade Aviation Department says administrative costs of staff, man-power hours, overtime, security, hiring an auctioneer and equipment have made the airports lost-and-found auctions less profitable.
How much Goodwill is paying for the suitcases was not released.
Through the years, there have been memorable auctions: One in 2011 generated $90,000 for MIA. Historically, the biggest suitcase score came several years ago when a man found $10,000 in British pounds inside a suitcase.
The Travel Channel's MIA reality show will be featuring the MIA-Goodwill arrangement in an episode of its new series starting April 13.
The contract between MIA and Goodwill is for two years with five one-year renewal options.
Goodwill will use the proceeds to train and employ people with disabilities in Miami-Dade.