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May 8, 2023

L.L.Bean unveils highlights of flagship store revamp

rendering of buildings Courtesy / Arrowstreet, WBRC, Sebago Technics A new Main Street façade and various updated areas are part of L.L.Bean’s plan to provide a more accessible and “immersive” experience at its flagship store in Freeport.
Investment in the multi-year project, dubbed the “Freeport Experience,” is expected to be more than $50 million. 
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Maine outdoor retailer L.L.Bean has a plan in the works to provide a more accessible and “immersive” experience at its flagship store in Freeport.

Investment in the multi-year project, which started in January and is dubbed the “Freeport Experience,” is expected to be over $50 million. 

“When this vision is fully brought to life, we will have created a best-in-class retail experience surrounding an enhanced outdoor space for all to enjoy right in the center of town,” Shawn Gorman, executive chairman and great-grandson of L.L.Bean, said in a news release.

The project team is Zachau Construction of Freeport; Boston-based architect Arrowstreet, Inc.; architects and engineers WBRC of Bangor; and South Portland's Sebago Technics engineering firm. 

Once complete, highlights of the redeveloped store and campus include a new Main Street façade.

The façade and street-level entrance at the intersection of Bow and Main streets will be redesigned to allow for easier access for customers. There will be a new bike shop offering wares and services and designed to create a dynamic window scene.

The current boat, bike and ski store will be removed to expand the campus’s Discovery Park — the center of the campus which features seasonal events such as concerts and ice skating — and allow an open flow from the campus to Main Street. Paved access ramps will connect the interior park area to Freeport Village Station by an improved pedestrian crosswalk.

Lawns, landscaped beds, paved trails and concrete paver areas will be added to the expansion, along with new infrastructure to support events.

A parking lot called the Moose will be removed to provide better interconnectivity within the streetscape, interior park areas and an expansive lawn area used for Summer in the Park concerts.

A new, wide, central walkway leading to the new flagship store’s main entrance will be built. A stage area will be preserved, and the connecting lawn area will be expanded and rebuilt to improve drainage.

Another parking lot, called the Black Bear, will be reconfigured to accommodate additional accessible parking and a new drop-off lane.

The exterior facade of the new building will be redesigned to create a unified New England aesthetic.

Various paths and courtyards will be updated with snowmelt systems, lighting, utilities, directional signage, landscaping, irrigation, and trash and recycling receptacles.

The goals of the project include upgrading the customer and employee experience; honoring the New England village aesthetic; creating a more inviting and identifiable entrance and façade on Main Street; improving accessibility to the campus; hosting more outdoor events in an expanded Discovery Park; and enhancing the infrastructure to connect more fluidly with Main Street.

The store will maintain normal operating hours during construction, although there will be some changes. For example, the 1912 Café will be closed for the duration of the project, Coffee by Design will be leaving on May 31, and the aquarium has been relocated. Some departments may also be relocated.

L.L.Bean said it will unveil details about interior enhancements in the coming months. A new trout and salmon pond will be a central attraction, new food options will be available. Outdoor equipment — boating, paddling, hiking, camping, hunting and fishing — will be co-located into new, expanded departments.

L.L.Bean closed its 2022 fiscal year with annual net revenue of $1.8 billion, according to its annual report, issued in March 2023. The company had record-breaking sales growth in 2020 and 2021, and saw a slight decrease in revenue in 2022, but held onto recent gains to yield its second-strongest revenue performance in company history. The company employs 5,500 globally in retail stores and offices in Maine, Costa Rica, Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

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