L.L. Bean Inc. has announced it will open a store in Chicago this fall. The move marks the first time in 96 years that the outdoor gear and apparel outfitter has expanded its retail outside the Northeast U.S. corridor.
The 30,000-square-foot store will be at the Arboretum at South Barrington, in Chicago's Northwest suburbs. As part of the company's commitment to environmental sustainability, the store will be built to U.S. Green Building Council's LEED standards. The Arboretum location will be L.L. Bean's seventh green store, incorporating creative use of recycled and reclaimed materials as well as state of the art energy efficient heating, cooling and lighting systems.
"Our wood fixtures are made from pickle barrels," said Ken Kacere, L.L. Bean's senior vp, retail. "We get them from all over the country." The wood flooring comes "from old barns. That means we use no new wood. It means no trees had to come down. We also use a lot of recycled metal."
The store will also include Bean's popular Outdoor Discovery School, offering “Walk-On Adventures” — introductory hands-on experiences in such sports as kayaking and fly-fishing.