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L.L. Bean to expand its bootprint at Mall of America

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An empty space at the Mall of America will be filled by a high profile retailer, which plans to bring a bit of the Maine north woods to Minnesota.

The Pioneer Press reports outdoors retailer L.L. Bean will open its first location west of the Mississippi River in November when it takes over 29,000 square feet in the first floor space of the former Bloomingdale's store – which has stood vacant since 2012.

The company is known for its clothing and footwear, camping and hiking gear, and outdoor merchandise such as kayaks, canoes, fishing equipment, skis and snowshoes. The Bloomington store, which will showcase an array of cold-weather clothing, will hire about 120 employees. That includes staff for an Outdoor Discovery School, which will offer demonstrations, clinics and speakers to promote outdoors activities.

The Business Journal notes that throughout its history, L.L. Bean was known as a catalog company, but has more recently opened 20 stores outside of its home state of Maine.

"Maine and Minnesota are kind of like long-lost brothers," L.L. Bean spokesman Mac McKeever told the Pioneer Press. "You not only have these great natural resources, but a population base that appreciates the outdoors, regardless of the season."

Meanwhile, Maureen Bausch, MOA's executive vice president for business development, said the mall is close to finalizing another deal with a tenant for the Bloomingdale's second-floor space. She told the Business Journal an announcement should come in the next week or two.

Earlier this month, Maine's Portland Press Herald reported the foundation started by the late grandson of L.L.Bean’s founder donated nearly $1 million to 62 Maine nonprofit organizations. The John T. Gorman Foundation, started in 1995, distributes $7.5 million in grants every year.

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