L.L.Bean

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Coordinates: 43°50′58″N 70°6′32″W / 43.84944°N 70.10889°W / 43.84944; -70.10889

L.L.Bean, Inc.
Privately held company
Industry Retail
Founded 1912; 106 years ago (1912)
Founder Leon Leonwood Bean
Headquarters 15 Casco Street
Freeport, Maine,
United States
Number of locations
55 stores
Area served
Worldwide
Key people
Shawn Gorman
(Chairman)
Steve Smith
(President and CEO)
Products
Revenue Decrease US$1.6 billion (2016)
Number of employees
5,100 (2016)
Website www.llbean.com
Footnotes / references
[1][2][3]

L.L.Bean is an American, privately held retail company founded in 1912 by Leon Leonwood Bean. The company is based in Freeport, Maine, United States. It specializes in clothing and outdoor recreation equipment.

Company history[edit]

Leon Leonwood Bean (1872-1967)
L.L.Bean in Yonkers, NY

L.L.Bean was founded in 1912 by its namesake, hunter and fisherman Leon Leonwood Bean in Freeport, Maine. The company began as a one-room operation selling a single product, the Maine Hunting Shoe (also known as duck boots[4]). Bean had developed a waterproof boot, which is a combination of lightweight leather uppers and rubber bottoms, that he sold to hunters. He obtained a list of nonresident Maine hunting license holders, prepared a descriptive mail order circular, set up a shop in his brother's basement in Freeport and started a nationwide mail-order business. By 1912, he was selling the Bean Boot, or Maine Hunting Shoe, through a four-page mail-order catalog, and the boot remains a staple of the company's outdoor image. Defects in the initial design led to 90 percent of the original production run being returned: Bean made good on his money-back guarantee, corrected the design, and continued selling them.[1]

The 220,000 sq ft (20,000 m2) L.L.Bean retail store campus in Freeport, Maine is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, with more than three million visitors per year, as of 2015.[5]

Leon L. Bean died on February 5, 1967, in Pompano Beach, Florida. He is buried in Freeport's Webster Cemetery.[6] The company passed into the directorship of Bean's grandson, Leon Gorman, from that time until 2001, when Gorman decided to take the position of Chairman, leaving the position of CEO to Christopher McCormick, the first non-family member to assume the title.[7] On May 19, 2013 Shawn Gorman, 47, a great-grandson of the company’s founder, was elected L.L.Bean’s chairman. The company announced a US$125,000 donation to a new scholarship fund upon Leon Gorman's death in 2015, representing about 2.5 years of tuition at his alma mater, Bowdoin College.[8]

Stephen Smith was named CEO in November 2015, the first time in the company's 103-year history that a CEO had been hired from outside the company.[9]

Product line[edit]

Since its inception, the company has branched out not only to variations on its boots but to other outdoor equipment such as firearms, backpacks, tents, as well as producing a full line of clothing, which is now its mainstay.[timeframe?][citation needed]

L.L.Bean is a global company sourcing its products from the US and across the globe. in 2016 its Brunswick, Maine factory employed more than 450 people who hand-craft the company's products such as the Maine Hunting Shoe, L.L.Bean Boot, Boat and Totes, dog beds, leather goods and backpacks.[10]

In 2000, L.L.Bean formed a contract with the Japanese automaker Subaru, making L.L.Bean the official outfitter of Subaru, spawning an L.L.Bean edition Subaru Outback and Subaru Forester for the US market. The L.L.Bean trim levels were top-spec versions, with all available options included as standard equipment. This relationship with Subaru ended June 28, 2008.[11]

In 2010, L.L.Bean established a contemporary sub-brand known as L.L.Bean Signature. The Signature line is a modern interpretation of L.L.Bean's previous products with modern fits.[12]

Retail Stores[edit]

An L.L.Bean store in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania at Ross Park Mall.

Along with a number of retail and outlet ("factory") stores, the company maintains its flagship store on Main Street in Freeport, Maine. This branch, originally opened in 1917, has been open 24 hours a day since 1951, with the exception of two Sundays in 1962 when Maine changed its blue laws; a town vote later reinstated the store's open-door policy.[13] The flagship also closed to honor the death of US President John F. Kennedy in 1963, as well as the deaths of founder Leon Bean in 1967 and his grandson Leon Gorman in 2015.[14]

L.L.Bean, for its part, has invested heavily in activities for both visitors and residents in Freeport, including their Outdoor Discovery Schools, Christmas light displays, and their Summer Concert Series, which has attracted artists such as Grace Potter, Lake Street Dive, Edwin McCain, Great Big Sea, Buckwheat Zydeco, and Rockapella.

L.L.Bean opened its first outlet store in North Conway, New Hampshire in 1988. The company operates 30 retail stores and 10 factory outlets in the US, and 25 retail stores in Japan, in addition to its catalog and online sales operations.[timeframe?][citation needed]

The L.L.Bean Bootmobile, which travels the country throughout the year, also serves as a mobile store during its college tour, selling Bean Boots, custom laces, and more.

Rockapella performs at the L.L. Bean Summer Concert Series, July 2003

In March 2018, L.L. Bean opened their first urban location in Boston's Seaport District. This 8,600 square foot store will be the model for further expansion in urban areas and offer a selection of merchandise selected to fit the needs of the surrounding community.[15]

Returns policy[edit]

From its founding, L.L.Bean had an unlimited return policy, which allowed customers to return items with which they were dissatisfied at any time, even without a purchase receipt. On February 9, 2018, the company announced they would be limiting returns to within one year of purchase, and only with a receipt or other proof of purchase.[16] L.L.Bean said that some customers had been abusing the policy by returning items that had been purchased from yard sales and third parties or used the policy as a lifetime replacement program items with normal wear and tear.[17] L.L.Bean has also stated they reserve the right to deny returns to those who return items systematically.[18]

Political activity[edit]

In January 2017, there was a call from a group of political activists to boycott L.L.Bean after it was disclosed that Linda Bean, one of the descendants of founder Leon Leonwood Bean who sits on the board of directors, had donated US$60,000 to a political action committee that supported Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign.[19][20] There were assertions that the contribution may be illegal.[21] Trump posted on Twitter, in support of Linda Bean after calls for the boycott, "Thank you to Linda Bean of L.L.Bean for your great support and courage. People will support you even more now. Buy L.L.Bean." [22] [23] The company said it had not donated to Trump, nor have any of the other directors or any of the 50 other Bean heirs.[24][25][26][27][28] The company had declined to say if the publicity hurt sales, but its sales were flat for a second straight year in 2016 after a relative's political contributions in support of US President Donald Trump.[29] [30]

Outdoor Discovery Schools[edit]

L.L.Bean has education programs connected to many of its retail outlets to support the outdoor interests of its customers. Customers can sign up to participate in a number of outdoor activities: all equipment and instruction are provided. Activities include archery, clay shooting, fly casting, and sea kayaking. More advanced classes are conducted as well, and must be reserved in advance. Snowshoeing and cross country skiing are available December to March. All other retail stores offer fly casting and kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding.[31]

In popular culture[edit]

L.L.Bean shoe car (Bootmobile) in Freeport, Maine, July 7, 2012
  • Netflix Show Luke Cage references the company's return policy in Season 1, Episode 3. The character Cornell "Cottonmouth" Stokes (Mahershala Ali) is quoted saying "There ain't no return policy, this ain't L.L.Bean." [32]
  • Netflix Show Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt character Jacqueline Voorhees (Jane Krakowski) jokes that the title character is "a model for L.L.Bean’s performance fleeces" in Season 2 Episode 3.[33]
  • The Official Preppy Handbook, an ironic description of upper-class and upper-middle-class life in America, describes L.L.Bean as "nothing less than Prep mecca."[34]
  • Author Hunter S. Thompson referred to wearing L.L.Bean shorts in a number of his works, most notably during the "Wave Speech" featured in chapter eight of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.[35]
  • The 1990 Paul Rudnick novel I'll Take It was a humorous tale of a Long Island mother taking some of her children on a Fall shopping trip through New England with L.L.Bean being the final destination. As the plot unfolds, the mother divulges to her son that she is actually planning to rob L.L.Bean in order to update her and her husband's furniture in their retirement.[36]
  • The blog Your LL Bean Boyfriend features the male models of the L.L.Bean Catalog paired with captions that the perfect boyfriend might say.[37]
  • In the 1988 film Beetlejuice, whilst looking around the horribly outdated house the interior designer character Otho exclaims "Ooo. Deliver me from L.L.Bean!"[38]

Locations[edit]

US retail and outlet stores[edit]

International stores[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "L.L.Bean - Our Story" (PDF). L.L.Bean. Retrieved May 2, 2013. 
  2. ^ "L.L.Bean 2016 Company Fact Sheet" (PDF). L.L.Bean. Retrieved September 4, 2015. 
  3. ^ https://www.llbean.com/customerService/aboutLLBean/images/FactSheet_2015.pdf
  4. ^ "LL Bean's "duck boot" gets a production boost". www.CBSnews.com. August 17, 2017. Retrieved October 18, 2017. 
  5. ^ Kane, Colleen. "Now flagship stores come with spas, wine vaults and studios". Fortune. 
  6. ^ Rogak, Lisa (2004), Stones and Bones of New England: A guide to unusual, historic, and otherwise notable cemeteries, Globe Pequat ISBN 0-7627-3000-5
  7. ^ "Visit the L.L. Bean Retail Store or Outlet Near You". L.L.Bean. Retrieved October 14, 2014. 
  8. ^ "L.L. Bean announces donations in Leon Gorman's name - The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram". The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram. 
  9. ^ Sharp, David. "APNewsBreak: 1st 'outsider' to lead retailer LL Bean". Boston.com. 
  10. ^ "L.L. Bean is ramping up boot production as demand surges". pressherald.com. 4 September 2016. 
  11. ^ "BEHIND THE WHEEL/Subaru Outback H6-3.0 L. L. Bean Edition; A Melting Pot With All-Wheel Drive". New York Times. Retrieved 22 January 2016. 
  12. ^ Bennett, Alan. "Bean Boots: when practical becomes fashionable". The Maine Campus. The Maine Campus. 
  13. ^ "95th Anniversary Timeline". L.L.Bean. p. 1962. Retrieved 2008-08-09. 
  14. ^ "Rarity for rare leader: L.L. Bean closes stores to remember Leon Gorman". pressherald.com. 13 September 2015. 
  15. ^ Carlock, Catherine (2018-03-28). "L.L. Bean's first urban store in Boston heralds a new chapter for the storied Maine retailer". Boston Business Journal. Retrieved 2018-03-29. 
  16. ^ https://www.mensjournal.com/gear/l-l-bean-changes-lifetime-guarantee-to-one-year-return-policy/
  17. ^ Nanos, Janelle (2018-02-09). "L.L. Bean dropping its unlimited returns policy". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2018-02-09. 
  18. ^ https://finance.yahoo.com/news/l-l-bean-eliminates-legendary-154538962.html
  19. ^ https://www.npr.org/2017/04/16/523960521/-grabyourwallets-anti-trump-boycott-looks-to-expand-its-reach
  20. ^ Board, Editorial (12 January 2016). "L.L. Bean boycott would harm the wrong people". Portland Press Herald. Retrieved 15 January 2017. 
  21. ^ Victor, Daniel (12 January 2017). "Trump Tweet About L. L. Bean Underscores Potential Danger for Brands". nytimes.com. 
  22. ^ http://money.cnn.com/2017/01/12/news/companies/trump-ll-bean/index.html
  23. ^ https://www.cbsnews.com/news/after-calls-for-l-l-bean-boycott-trump-tweets-support-for-company/
  24. ^ Woolhouse, Megan (2017-01-09). "L.L. Bean pleads: Don't boycott us over Trump donation". Boston Globe. Retrieved 2017-01-10. 
  25. ^ Anderson, L.V. (12 January 2017). "Liberals, Don't Let Donald Trump Tarnish L.L. Bean's Sterling Brand Reputation". Slate. Retrieved 15 January 2017. 
  26. ^ https://www.nbcnews.com/business/business-news/l-l-bean-embroiled-spat-over-donation-trump-campaign-n706236
  27. ^ https://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2017/01/09/llbean/jU1bOW73QqRhmYAN5pSj4N/story.html
  28. ^ http://www.marketwatch.com/story/should-consumers-boycott-ll-bean-over-a-political-donation-2017-01-13
  29. ^ http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/story/news/2017/03/18/ll-bean-weathers-boycott-oks-bonuses/99329412/
  30. ^ http://www.ctvnews.ca/business/l-l-bean-s-sales-level-in-2016-as-retailer-weathers-boycott-1.3329687
  31. ^ Walk On Adventures at LLBean.com
  32. ^ Thomas, Leah. "21 Pop Culture References In 'Luke Cage' That Prove Its Marvel's Quippiest Show Yet". bustle.com. 
  33. ^ "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Recap: The Geisha Plot". vulture.com. 
  34. ^ Thomas, June (1 September 2010). "Saved by Corduroy" – via Slate. 
  35. ^ "A quote from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas". www.goodreads.com. 
  36. ^ Isaacs, Susan (1989-06-11). "L.L. Bean, This is a Stickup". The New York Times. Retrieved 2017-01-10. 
  37. ^ Murphy, Edward. "Swooning over 'Your LL Bean Boyfriend'". Portland Press Harold. Retrieved 7 October 2014. 
  38. ^ Steve Spears (September 7, 2010). "Day-oh-no: Otho from 'Beetlejuice' dies at 58". Stuck in the 80s. Tampa Bay Times. Archived from the original on 21 September 2017. Retrieved 26 November 2017. 
  39. ^ a b c "Three New Stores in Three Weeks – L.L.Bean Arrives in Vermont, Minnesota and Colorado". Trailmix: The L.L.Bean Blog. 
  40. ^ "L.L. Bean to open first Michigan retail store". Detroit Free Press. 19 February 2016. 
  41. ^ Lee, Jasen (2017-04-21). "L.L.Bean to open first Utah store in Park City". DeseretNews.com. Retrieved 2017-04-22. 
  42. ^ "Company Information". L.L.Bean. Retrieved 2017-11-22. 

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Notes[edit]

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