L.L.Bean is moving into a new 110,000-square-foot warehouse in Lewiston, ME to support strong demand for its iconic boots, according to the Lewiston Sun Journal.
More than 600,000 boots were sold in 2016. Sales of L.L.Bean boots are expected to increase to 700,000 in 2017 and possibly reach 1 million in 2018. A decade ago, L.L.Bean sold about 150,000 pairs per year.
The boots are manufactured in Lewiston and Brunswick. More than 100 jobs are expected to be added with the new Lewiston warehouse. The new facility will include an additional injection molding machine. The company currently has one each in its Brunswick and Lewiston facilities.
In a separate release, L.L.Bean announced year-end approval of its charitable giving program that will allocate $2.1 million in grants to more than 80 organizations for annual gifts, plus additional funding in small grants to dozens more. At its December meeting, the L.L.Bean Board of Directors approved gifts ranging from $5,000 to $225,000, that will be dispersed to organizations involved in the areas of conservation and recreation, health and human services, education and culture and the arts.
“We are proud of our efforts to support the many great organizations that are working to make the world, especially the outdoors and our communities, a better place for all of us,” said Shawn Gorman, L.L.Bean’s executive chairman of the board. “Being a family-owned, values-based company, we consider our communities and the environment to be major stakeholders, in addition to our customers, employees, shareholders and vendors. That’s why we believe it is so important to support these nonprofits with the resources they need to continue to positively impact the lives of our neighbors, friends and the outdoors.”
For decades L.L.Bean has supported the community through its Charitable Giving Program, and in just the last 10 years has provided close to $30 million in funding to nonprofit organizations.
“We are fortunate to have so many active nonprofit partners leading the efforts to help resolve some of our communities’ most pressing needs as well as working to make the great outdoors even greater,” said Stephen Smith, president and CEO of L.L.Bean. “By encouraging a healthy outdoor lifestyle, working to preserve our precious natural resources, and focusing on the various needs in our communities, these groups embody many of the values and traditions of L.L.Bean — integrity, service, respect, healthy living and a passion for the outdoors.”
In the area of conservation and recreation, the focus of the program is engaging young people in healthy outdoor activities and ensuring access to recreational opportunities for all. Recipients of the 2016 community grants include L.L.Bean partners with programs focused on youth: Maine Audubon, Teens to Trails, Maine Huts and Trails, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts and the Student Conservation Association. Several organizations promote stewardship and open access to outdoor recreational opportunities: Maine Island Trails Association, Nature Conservancy, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, and sporting groups such as Trout Unlimited, Ducks Unlimited, Ruffed Grouse Society and Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine.
Within the category of health and human services, the primary recipients are United Way chapters throughout Maine and where the company has a retail presence. L.L.Bean’s corporate gifts to United Way chapters totaled nearly $600,000. Through the generosity of employees, an additional $1.1 million was donated to this year’s campaign. Additionally, donations were made to support local neighbors in need through Freeport Community Services, the American Red Cross, and the Cancer Community Center. In the realm of education, support of statewide organizations includes the Mitchell Institute, Jobs for Maine’s Graduates and Junior Achievement as well as support for school districts within L.L.Bean communities. In the area of culture and the arts, donations included the American Folk Festival in Bangor, Portland Ovations, and the Maine State Music Theater.
L.L.Bean also donated $105,000 to the David Ortiz Children’s Fund as part of the net proceeds from the sale of the one-of-a-kind David Ortiz Commemorative Boat and Tote bags developed to honor and celebrate the baseball player’s remarkable career. The limited-edition bags were constructed of the material from the Fenway Park rain delay tarp.
In addition to donations made through the Charitable Giving Program, the company provided $200,000 in annual support to the Island Explorer propane bus system in Acadia National Park. This year, the company pledged an additional $1 million over the next five years to help provide eco-friendly, free transportation to over three million visitors to Maine’s national park.
Photo courtesy L.L.Bean