L.L. Bean may very well be the most active 96-year-old in New England. You'd be hard pressed to find another nonagenarian that welcomes visitors 365 days a year, 24 hours a day.
L.L. Bean has been a fixture on Main Street in Freeport, Maine, since it opened shop there 96 years ago in 1917. The locks on the doors were removed in 1951 when the decision was made to keep the store open 24 hours a day year-round. Today, more than 3 million shoppers visit L.L. Bean in Freeport each year.
The retail store may only be 96, but the business celebrated 100 years of successful mail order sales in 2012. Leon Leonwood Bean invented the Maine Hunting Shoe, a.k.a. the "Bean Boot," in 1911. In 1912, he began a mail order sales business with a four-page flyer sent to out-of-state sportsmen. The rest, as they say, is history.
The L.L. Bean Guarantee
Part of L.L. Bean's mystique comes from the company's 100 percent satisfaction guarantee--a promise that was born in 1912 and remains to this day. Any L.L. Bean purchase, whether made at the flagship store, at outlet shops or via mail order, can be returned at any time for a replacement or refund.
Getting There... The L.L. Bean Flagship Store is located at 95 Main Street in Freeport, Maine. From I-295 North, take exit 20 for Freeport. Follow U.S. Route 1 North/Main Street into town, and you'll find L.L. Bean right in the center of the village. From I-295 South, take exit 22, then follow U.S. Route 1 South/Main Street to the center of town. Plentiful free parking is available and accessible via Howard Place or Justin's Way (see map).
In addition to the L.L. Bean Retail Store, you'll also find an L.L. Bean Home Store, an L.L.Bean Hunting & Fishing Store and an L.L.Bean Bike, Boat & Ski Store in Freeport. There is also an L.L. Bean Outlet store located nearby in the village center. For directions and hours of operation, call the outlet store at 207-552-7772.
If You're Going... The Freeport Merchants Association offers a free Freeport Map and Visitor's Guide including information on other outlet shops in town, lodging, dining and more. Request the guide online or call 207-865-1212, or toll free, 800-865-1994. They also offer a free mobile app for iPhone or Android that offers information and exclusive coupons and savings. You can also use Expedia to compare rates and check availability at Freeport hotels.