Shawn Gorman, Executive Chairman of L.L.Bean
By Paul Koenig
Last year L.L.Bean did something it had only done four times before in its century-plus history: closed its Freeport flagship store. The result of the pandemic shutdown, the two-and-a-half month shuttering was the first time the store had been closed for more than 24 hours. But despite the closure of its retail stores around the country, L.L.Bean saw its biggest revenue jump in nine years. “As a 109-year-old company, we have weathered a fair number of economic and other storms over the years—World Wars, the Great Depression, and, more recently, 9/11 and the Great Recession,” says Shawn Gorman, executive chairman of the company. “A global pandemic was altogether different, with the convergence of both a public health and an economic crisis at the same time.” The company also lent its resources and facilities to assisting Mainers in need. Early in the pandemic, L.L.Bean began manufacturing medical-grade masks for healthcare workers at its Brunswick facility. The outdoor retailer also partnered with Good Shepherd Food Bank to use its shipping hub in Freeport to pack food for pantries across the state.