Customers lined up to get inside first Canadian L.L. Bean in Oakville
The iconic American retailer L.L. Bean, known for its outdoor apparel and recreation equipment, has opened its first Canadian store in Oakville.
About 150 people lined up to be first inside the store at the RioCan Oakville Place Mall.
The CEO and President of L.L. Bean Stephen Smith says he is confident Canadians will shop there, saying the 107-year-old company headquartered in Maine shares many of values as well as the climate Canadians are used too.
“We knew we had a customer base here because we could see that in our direct sales and to see so many people showing up for our grand opening is really exciting,” Smith said.
On Friday, the first 100 customers got a gift card that could have been worth anywhere from $10 to $500.
First in line was James Vanzeller, who showed up at midnight with his family.
“I went to the L.L. Bean in Maine when I was a little kid so I just thought it was cool to come here so here I am,” he said.
After a ribbon cutting ceremony, the doors opened and customers got to see what the store had to offer. It’s well known for its flannel jackets, hiking boots and camping gear. Many Canadians have been ordering from the company’s website and catalogue for years.
“We share a 600-mile border between Maine and Canada. We understand cold weather, we understand rugged and we understand the cabin and cottage culture,” Smith said.
The company says its products are of high quality and many are priced at a premium. However, Smith says L.L. Bean has one of the best return policies in the business, with a one year satisfaction guarantee.
L.L. Bean also plans to sell clothing through kiosks in Hudson Bay stores across Canada, and while this is the first bricks and mortar store in Canada, the company plans to monitor sales and could open up to 20 stores across the country in the future.