Bostonians, rejoice! L.L. Bean will open the doors of its Seaport store at One Seaport on April 6, joining the explosive ranks of other retailers in the area.
With more than 30 retail spots in the United States, it may come a surprise that the Seaport location is the brand’s first urban store in its 106-year history. Boston, constantly blending the classic and the modern, was a natural fit.
“We know our most loyal and wonderful customers are here in Boston,” says Kim Devanney, L.L. Bean’s New Hampshire and Massachusetts District Manager. “We’ve had a long standing relationship with the Red Sox. We’ve just been in Boston a lot, so it was natural for us to look for our first urban store in Boston. We’re thrilled to be here.”
The proximity of Bean’s newest baby to the water is no accident, either. Setting up shop in an area with extensive outdoor recreational resources is vital to the success off the store and of the brand. The Seaport provides access to Boston Harbor and its islands, as well as the Channel, allowing for the seamless integration of the brand’s Outdoor Discovery Schools, a recreation program whose roots go back to the early 1970s. Through the Outdoor Discovery Schools, everyone from nature novices to seasoned experts can attend free classes on such topical subjects as Thru-Hiking Basics, Map and Compass Fundamentals, and Intro to Fly-Fishing. The ODS also offers local guided hikes, kayaking, and paddle boarding.
“Our Outdoor Discovery School instructors are absolute drooling at the opportunity of what they’re going to be able to do here with the parks, the trail network, and the water resources that we have right outside the back door,” says Greg Elder, Vice President of Stores.
L.L. Bean has a long history with the wilderness of New England – what Henry David Thoreau did for philosophizing on nature, Bean did for trekking through it. In 1911, Leon Leonwood Bean, after returning from a hunting trip with wet feet, came up with the novel idea of a boot with rubber bottoms and leather uppers, and the famed Bean Boot was born. After some initial production hiccups – ninety percent of boots manufactured in 1912 fell apart – L.L. Bean went on to become one of the most successful outdoor recreation brands in the country.
As one of the brand’s smallest stores, coming in just under 9,000 square feet, the Seaport location will stock a curated selection of active product suited to the particular needs of Boston residents. Kid’s gear and apparel feature prominently at the front of the space, and with good reason – the Boston Children’s Museum is right around the corner. The store will also feature a “Lace Bar,” where customers can customize the laces of their otherwise traditional Bean footwear. Apartment-friendly inflatable paddle boards that can be neatly stowed away and outdoor supplies for dogs are just a couple of products geared toward Boston’s city-dwelling adventurers.
Though showers are predicted for Friday, the newest addition to the Bean brand will open its doors at 9 a.m., with Red Sox greats Dennis Eckersley, Jim Rice, and Luis Tiant speaking at the store from 4-7. Saturday and Sunday will be full of activities, including giveaways of gift cards and Red Sox tickets, free yoga, block parties, live music, games, and photo ops with the L.L. Bean Bootmobile.
“The vitality of this neighborhood is just unbelievable,” says Elder. “Even on a [rainy] day like today, this weather doesn’t slow anyone from Boston down.”
L.L. Bean is located at One Seaport, 56 Seaport Blvd.