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Maine's Most Iconic Retailer
It all started with a boot.
Or, more precisely, with a shoe, ‘The Maine Hunting Shoe,’ invented by Leon Leonwood (L.L.) Bean in 1911 and first marketed by mail the following year. With a leather top and a rubber sole, Bean’s high-top ‘shoe’ was designed to help outdoors-people tramp through the woods without getting their feet wet. When the first batch didn’t work as advertised, Bean sent out refunds, rebuilt the boot, and got a winner. Thus, Maine’s most iconic brand was born.
Bean’s little company was built on attributes that support the giant international company to this day. Bean’s remains devoted to Freeport, the little coastal town where it all started. The brand has spread across Freeport’s downtown, creating a campus where you can easily spend a day shopping or trying out your purchases. When you come visit the campus, you’ll find:
- The ginormous Flagship store, complete with an indoor trout pond
- The Bike, Boat & Ski Store
- The Hunting & Fishing Store
- The Home Store
- The popular Outlet
Don’t worry about what time to arrive at the Flagship store. In 1951, Bean decided to keep it open 24/7. That way, adventurers who’d driven all night to get to Maine’s good hiking, fishing and boating spots wouldn’t have to wait to pick up needed gear.
Once you’ve scored some new gear or things to wear, why not test them out? Over 40 years ago, Bean opened its Outdoor Discovery Program, which offers trips, camps, classes and workshops on everything from fly fishing to wilderness first aid. Many of the program’s offerings are available right at the Freeport store itself. Many are open to families.
If you’re in Freeport in the summer, you can even enjoy some entertainment between trips to the stores. At Discovery Park in the center of the L.L.Bean Campus, their Summer in the Park series offers free concerts, yoga, films and other family events.