Jamie Biesiada
Jamie Biesiada

HAMBURG, N.J. -- Largay Travel had double the reason to celebrate during its annual retreat held at the Grand Cascades Lodge here earlier this month: In addition to the event, which brings together Largay agents and suppliers for a weekend of fun and learning, the agency is also celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

"As much as we are celebrating 50 years of success and history of Largay Travel, this is not about me. This is not about Largay Travel," CEO Paul Largay told attendees. "It is about everybody who has shared this journey."

Largay, a branch of Tzell Travel Group and a Virtuoso member based in Waterbury, Conn., was founded in 1969 by Paul Largay's uncle, Roland Largay. Paul joined the company in 1982. President Amanda Klimak joined the organization in 2001.

"When Roland founded the company, he always had a dream of becoming a premium luxury travel agency," Klimak said after the retreat. "Through the help of Virtuoso and Tzell, we've been able to really grow this company with his vision in mind and make it a joyful experience along the way.

"For us, it has never just been about the dollar, the bottom line, but about creating an environment that we feel truly proud of and being able to be proud of the career in travel that we've chosen."

Largay began its annual retreat 11 years ago, Klimak said. The event has grown since then, giving Largay employees, independent contractors (Largay refers to them as "business partners") and suppliers a chance to get together, grow personally and professionally and, most importantly, form friendships and business relationships with one another.

"Our team is located all across the country, and most of the time, the only times we're physically meeting them would be at the retreat and at Virtuoso Travel Week," Klimak said. "Being able to spend a weekend with them, get to know them, have them be able to interact with our support staff and accounting -- all the people behind the scenes -- is hugely important to them."

The event includes educational opportunities, networking and fun in the form of parties and more.

"It's all about community here," Klimak said. "One thing about Largay is we are really into the relationships we have with both our team and also with our supplier partners. Many of these people are dear friends that we do business together with, and it really allows us to keep those friendships alive. Travel is an incredibly hard business, so having those deeper relationships is what this is all about for us."

With 50 years down, Largay is beginning to look toward the next half century.

"I think we're looking forward to continuing to maintain the culture and the feel of this company and making sure that we can feel proud of what we're accomplishing," Klimak said. "We don't have goals of being the biggest or the most well known.  It's all growing together and not forgetting it's the individual people that make this company successful."

Paul Largay said he couldn't predict what is to come, but if things keep going as they have, "we've got a very bright, prosperous, joyful future."

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