A Global Partnership

Departure Lounge hosted the first Ten Thousand Villages auction on Sunday as the start of a growing partnership with the new Austin business.

The auction was the first experiment for both organizations and included items displayed around the lounge. By the register, customers will see a handmade church from Ayacucho, Peru as well as functional art like the tagine from Indonesia, which is a cooking vessel used to steam food. Throughout the lounge on tables, there are Kisii stone sculptures from Kisii, Kenya. Ten Thousand Villages Store Manager Kitty Bird presented videos that showed how the stone is hand chiseled out of the quarries, then chiseled into sculptures by the men who then hand off the sculptures to the women of the village for sanding and painting.

departure lounge

“I wanted great art to display and was going to buy it and then I had this eureka moment talking with Joanie Cooksey, Ten Thousand Villages Board President, to go further and build a partnership,” Departure Lounge owner Keith Waldon said.

Departure Lounge, a coffee and wine restaurant meets travel agency fusion, opened four months ago downtown at west 5th street and Guadalupe. Owner Keith Waldon worked as a traditional travel agent for 15 years with luxury travel agency Virtuoso and saw the industry struggle to stay visible and connect with people, he said.

In starting Departure Lounge, he wanted to create a very social space that provides travel, he said. Customers can eat food from Italy, drink wine from Italy, and then discuss with the staff at Departure planning a trip to Italy, for example.

“We and our customers want ties to companies that do good,” Waldon said. “We pick very carefully the travel providers we work with.”

Cooksey has been friends with Waldon for years, she said, and wanted to do the auction at Departure because both organizations have a global interest.

The auction raised $200 for Ten Thousand Villages and ideas for another auction and event with Departure are already in the works.  Make sure to head down to Departure to see the Ten Thousand Villages décor items on display and take a quiz on one of the lounge’s touch screen televisions to see what kind of traveler you are while you’re there.