Avondale Travel’s upscale service pays off during the pandemic

Travel agencies have been hearing about the demise of their industry for about a quarter of a century when airlines first limited and then cut commissions.

Avondale Travel is no exception.

It’s a company that has seen a lot of ups and downs in the past 48 years, and is now run by the only child of its founder Louis “Lou” Black, Leigh Israel.

Black started his business in 1974 with a single office in Showbiz of Avondale on St. John’s Street. Fifteen years later, the family-owned business had grown to 50 offices, making it one of the largest travel agencies in the country at the time.

That’s when he decided to sell all but one of the sites to US Travel. The company retained Orange Park Travel, which eventually joined into an invitation-only consortium of agencies focused on the luxury travel market. In 2014, a second location opened in Avondale, a year after Israel joined the company. Her father died four years later.

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