L.L.Bean

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

L.L. Bean, Inc.
TypePrivate
IndustryRetail
Founded1912 (1912)
Founder(s)Leon Leonwood Bean
Headquarters15 Casco Street
Freeport, Maine,
United States
Number of locations115 stores (2011)[1]
Area servedWorldwide
Key peopleLeon Gorman
(Chairman)
Christopher McCormick
(President and CEO)
ProductsClothing and outdoor equipment
RevenueIncrease US$ 1.44 billion (FY 2010)[2]
Employees4,600 (2010)[3]
Websitewww.llbean.com
 
Jump to: navigation, search

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

L.L. Bean, Inc.
TypePrivate
IndustryRetail
Founded1912 (1912)
Founder(s)Leon Leonwood Bean
Headquarters15 Casco Street
Freeport, Maine,
United States
Number of locations115 stores (2011)[1]
Area servedWorldwide
Key peopleLeon Gorman
(Chairman)
Christopher McCormick
(President and CEO)
ProductsClothing and outdoor equipment
RevenueIncrease US$ 1.44 billion (FY 2010)[2]
Employees4,600 (2010)[3]
Websitewww.llbean.com

L.L. Bean, Inc.,[4] branded as L.L.Bean, is an American privately held mail-order, online and retail company founded in 1912 by Leon Leonwood Bean and currently based in Freeport, Maine, United States. It specializes in clothing and outdoor recreation equipment. Its annual sales were USD $1.78 billion in 2006.[5]

Contents

Company history

The company L.L.Bean was founded in 1912 by its namesake, avid hunter and fisherman Leon Leonwood Bean in Greenwood, Maine. Bean had developed a waterproof boot (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, Maine, 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% of the original production run being returned: Bean made good on his money-back guarantee, corrected the design, and continued selling them. 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] The original Freeport store had the appearance of an antique factory, with the business on the second floor, reached only by climbing a long central flight of stairs. For many years, the hallway of the staircase was a bulletin board messaging service used by hunters "from away" to advise their fellow hunters of information about their arrival, needs, and wants for the camp. Fellow hunters would have a niche in the stairway where their friends would put notes, and the custom lasted many years. The new showrooms removed the old, and the store is open 24/7. There is now a "campus" layout with different departments in separate buildings.

Product line

Since its conception, the company has branched out not only to variations on its boots but to other outdoor equipment such as backpacks and tents, as well as producing a full line of clothing, which is now its mainstay.

Although thought of as a folksy "down Maine" company, virtually all of the clothing, and the vast majority of other products, are now imported. The days of watching moccasins being made are long gone. The iconic Bean Boots and Maine Hunting Shoes are, however, still manufactured in Brunswick, Maine.

In 2000, L.L.Bean formed a contract with Subaru, making L.L.Bean the official outfitter of Subaru, spawning an "L.L.Bean edition" Subaru Outback and Forester for the USA market. The L.L.Bean trim levels on American Subaru vehicles are the top-spec versions, with leather and wood trimmed interiors and all available options offered as standard equipment. This relationship with Subaru ended June 28, 2008.

In 2010, L.L. Bean established a more stylish sub-brand known as L.L. Bean Signature. Designed by Alex Carleton, the Signature line is a modern interpretation of L.L. Bean classics featuring a more modern fit.

Branches

L.L.Bean retail store in Freeport, Maine, featuring a giant boot sculpture

Along with a number of retail and outlet ("factory") stores, the company maintains its flagship store on Main Street in Freeport. 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 reinstated the store's open-door policy.[8] The flagship also closed to honor the death of President Kennedy, as well as that of Bean himself.

L.L. Bean opened its first outlet store in North Conway, NH in 1988. This L.L. Bean outlet moved to a smaller, one-story store in 2008, citing efficiency issues with the original store (which was two stories and considerably larger).

Retail and outlet stores

Outdoor Discovery Schools

L.L.Bean has education programs connected to many of its retail outlets to support the outdoor interests of its customers. Customers can participate in a number of outdoor activities without prior arrangement by signing up in the store on the day of their visit and paying a small fee. Some of the sponsored activities include archery, clay shooting, fly casting, and sea kayaking. More advanced classes are conducted as well, but generally must be reserved in advance. The Freeport location offers Walk-On Adventures for $20 in fly casting, archery,sporting clays, and kayaking from Memorial Day through Columbus Day. Snowshoeing and cross country skiing are available December to March. All of the other retail stores (there are now 13 total outside of Maine from Chicago to the Mid-Atlantic region) offer fly casting and kayaking.

The Outdoor Discovery Schools, in addition to beginner to advanced courses in shooting, fishing, and kayaking, offers weekend adventure trips and daily guided kayak tours in Maine as well.[9]

Competitors

The major competitors for its outdoor gear line include Columbia Sportswear, Eddie Bauer, Helly Hansen, North Face, Orvis, Timberland and many other sporting goods retailers in the United States.

L.L.Bean's clothing line faces a rather different set of competitors. There, they compete with staples such as J.Crew, Lands' End, Barbour, Orvis, Brooks Brothers, Gant, Lacoste, Nautica, Polo Ralph Lauren, Original Penguin, Patagonia and many others.

In popular culture

References

  1. ^ "Our Story". L.L.Bean. http://www.llbean.com/customerService/aboutLLBean/images/110408_About-LLB.pdf. 
  2. ^ Sharp, David (March 14, 2011). "LL Bean Reverses 2 Years of Sales Declines". Associated Press (ABC News). http://abcnews.go.com/Business/wireStory?id=13131714. Retrieved November 29, 2011. 
  3. ^ "2011 Company fact sheet" (PDF). L.L.Bean. May 31, 2011. http://www.llbean.com/customerService/aboutLLBean/images/110531_LLB-Fact-Sheet.pdf. Retrieved November 29, 2011. 
  4. ^ "L.L. Bean, Inc.: Private Company Information". Bloomberg Businessweek. Bloomberg L.P. http://investing.businessweek.com/research/stocks/private/snapshot.asp?privcapId=162508. Retrieved November 29, 2011. 
  5. ^ "#259 LL Bean". The Largest Private Companies. Forbes. November 9, 2006. http://www.forbes.com/lists/2006/21/biz_06privates_LL-Bean_J18E.html. Retrieved 2007-09-26. 
  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. ^ "Company Information: Background". L.L.Bean. http://www.llbean.com/customerService/aboutLLBean/background.html. Retrieved 2008-08-09. 
  8. ^ "95th Anniversary Timeline". L.L.Bean. pp. 1962. http://www.llbean.com/customerService/aboutLLBean/95thAnniversary.html. Retrieved 2008-08-09. 
  9. ^ Walk On Adventures at LLBean.com
  10. ^ "African-American Boycott of L.L. Bean Enters 80th Year" (Flash video). The Onion. http://www.theonion.com/content/video/african_american_boycott_of_l_l. Retrieved 2007-09-26. 

External links