Monday, July 27, 2009

L.L. Bean-less

There are times when I feel a little isolated living in Nebraska. Friday was one of those times. While thousands of people lined up to await the grand opening of the new L.L. Bean store that also signaled the first retail opening at Legacy Place in Dedham, Mass., I was only able to follow the fun online.

Never mind that it was pouring down rain in Dedham, which is just outside of Boston. Bean fans braved the elements for hours to jockey for upfront positions in the half-mile-long grand-opening line -- as the first 500 inside the store would receive gift cards ranging in value from $25 to $500.

L.L. Bean’s newest store is a two-level, 30,000-sq.-ft. space that is built to silver LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards. Its new home, Legacy Place, is a 675,000-sq.-ft. open-air center developed by WS Development and National Amusements. “The first store opening at Legacy Place is a major milestone for us,” said David Fleming, the corporate marketing director for WS and, I have to say, a good friend of mine. “As evidenced by the turnout, we couldn’t have asked for a better retailer than L.L. Bean to help us open the center.”

I’ll say. I just wish that Nebraska had an L.L. Bean store. The closest one to me is near Chicago, about 500 miles away. And since this Dedham store is the only one the retailer will open in 2009, I’m out of luck for any hopes of a heartland store any time soon.

The next best thing to being there? Check out a video of the opening.

-- Katherine Field

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