WE ARE HOMETOWN NEWS.

ENFIELD — People living south of Springfield, along the Massachusetts-Connecticut border, will no longer have to drive 30 or more minutes to shop at L.L.Bean. The outdoor retailer, headquartered in Freeport, Maine, will open a location at the Brookside Plaza in Enfield this fall.

The 20 Hazard Ave. storefront is more than 24,000 square feet in size and was home to Bed, Bath & Beyond for over a decade before becoming vacant a year ago.

L.L.Bean was founded in 1912, by Leon Leonwood Bean, who invented the Maine Hunting Shoe the year before. The boot was constructed of leather uppers and rubber around the foot, a waterproof innovation in footwear that is often referred to as a “duck boot.” The retailer has since branched out to sell all manner of outdoor gear — from clothing and outerwear to equipment for hunting, fishing and winter sports, and even home goods and dog supplies.

L.L.Bean began expanding its retail footprint outside of Maine in 2000. The company now operates 56 stores in 19 states, Canada and Japan. The company’s only other store in Western Massachusetts is in Hadley, while there is a location in South Windsor, Connecticut. The company has plans to close its New Haven, Connecticut, store by the end of February. L.L.Bean plans to open four new stores in various locations by the end of the year.

Enfield Town Manager Christopher Bromson said Enfield is attracting national retailers like L.L.Bean and restaurants Teriyaki Madness and Raising Cane due to its location. “Local commercial district is on fire,” said Bromson. “We are in just such a strategic position, right off the highway.”

He added, “We have a lot of developments coming in. There’s no downside.” Bromson said there are also mixed-use developments, housing and condominiums being built in the city, which is simultaneously exploring “adequate, safe” parking solutions.

The new location will feature “an assortment of men’s, women’s and kid’s active and casual apparel in L.L.Bean’s full-size range; outerwear, footwear, gear, hard goods and home goods; and the legendary customer service and outdoor expertise L.L.Bean is known for,” the retailer said in a press release.
“Our purpose at L.L.Bean is to inspire and enable people to experience the restorative power of time outside, and we’re grateful to share our love for the outdoors with the Enfield community,” said Kristen Jones, district manager for L.L.Bean. “Connecticut has an abundance of outdoor destinations, from coastlines to mountain ranges to beautiful parks, and we hope that local customers will make L.L.Bean a stopping point on their adventures, wherever they might lead.”

L.L.Bean will begin hiring both full- and part-time employees for the new Enfield location in early summer. Sales associate positions with the company are being advertised beginning at $16 per hour. Bromson said that, while he does not know exactly how many people the store will employ, LL bean provides a “robust workforce” in its locations.

People interested in applying can do so at llbeancareers.com.

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