Phippsburg travel agent hits the road at home

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— When a Steamboat Springs travel agency announced its Dec. 1 closing, one of its employees realized her job was coming to an end.

But that didn't mean she had to say goodbye to the profession.

Phippsburg resident Charlene Regan left Carlson Wagonlit Travel in October and immediately began working out of her house.

"It was what I wanted to do already, but having to leave Carlson actually made me do it," Regan said.

With her son now in kindergarten, she said she has the time to efficiently run an office at home.

She works through a Denver travel agency and said she will carry its name, "Traveler's Edge," until she decides to take a name of her choosing.

Her income relies solely on commission from ticket sales, but Regan keeps costs low with a home office.

"If I had to pay to rent an office, I wouldn't be able to do it," she said.

Nancy Barnes, formerly a partner in Carlson Wagonlit Travel, knows about working from home. Before Carlson Wagonlit opened in 1998, she worked out of a home office.

The setting offers flexibility in terms of hours, Barnes said, but it also forces the self-employed travel agent to work harder to establish a presence.

Although Barnes plans to stay out of the business for a while, she said she welcomes the opportunity to pass her former clients on to a reliable person.

"She's one of the best," Barnes said of Regan.

Regan has inherited many of Barnes' clients.

"People will still call for reservations," Barnes said. "It makes me feel good to know that I don't have to let them down, because I can recommend Charlene to them."

As South Routt's lone travel agent, Regan said she hopes to build a following of South Routt customers while serving her Steamboat clientele.

"I want people to know that I'm not just serving people in one area," she said.

Her small operation offers customers a personal experience, she said, that cannot always be found in larger offices.

The loyalty of clients and referrals has contributed to a successful start, she said.

In the meantime, Regan plans to stay close to the phone.

"A lot of people don't know yet what I'm doing, so getting the word out will be important," she said. "My main thing to help that along is to answer the phone.

"If I don't answer, there's a chance I might lose them before I even talk to them."

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