Wednesday, January 18, 2012

L.L. Bean Celebrates 100 Years

No surprise that outdoor goods retailer L.L. Bean is a spry centenarian. The arrival of a catalog taglined "100 Years of Bringing the Outdoors Indoors" gave me pause--isn't being outdoors the essence of the Bean experience? But the Web site has rectified that. Kudos to Bean for sheer saturation: there are 100th anniversary events and tours planned for the whole year, along with centennial merchandise. What looks like an eight-foot Bean boot will tour the country, starting today in Times Square. You know, those yellow ones that are impervious to all kinds of weather. Oh, and a new history book by the original L.L.'s great-grandson is priced at, yes, $19.12.

Still, there are a few creaky knees. Though the creative team did a good job of fitting Bean's 100 years into a 1:48 video, why didn't they refer to founder Leon Leonwood Bean by name? Instead, he is "that man." And the interactive timeline is jumpier than a tick.

My anniversary wish for Bean is to offer more items made in the USA. That would be the best gift of all.