L. L. Bean
Famous for its iconic leather-and-rubber boots and canvas boat totes, and arguably the epicenter of Freeport shopping, the L. L. Bean flagship store, along with its ample parking lots, dominates a central stretch of Main Street—and customers buzz in and out by the thousands daily. While the mail-order company was founded in 1912 by serious angler-hunter-entrepreneur Leon Leonwood Bean, this flagship store didn’t open until 1917, and it’s much changed since then (now the shop’s state-of-the-art building features flowing ponds stocked with live speckled trout). Beloved “Beans” sells everything from braided rugs and lamb’s wool slippers to Gore-Tex anoraks and kayaks, with an untouchable reputation for quality and attentive customer service; with a few exceptions, the store’s been open to the public 24 hours a day, 365 days a year since 1951. With annual sales approaching $2 billion, maybe that’s the secret to its snowballing success.
Insider Tip: While the store holds excellent—and extensive—educational courses (from fly-fishing to trap shooting), it also offers shorter day classes for a small fee, without prior registration required.
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