Photo by Salt Water New England

Thursday, January 9, 2020

PPH: L.L. Bean nixes corporate relocation in favor of expansion


L.L. Bean slows any "ship of Theseus" conversations by negotiating to stay in Freeport, Maine:
The town’s biggest and best-known business considered leaving Freeport before deciding to pursue a tax agreement and expand its downtown corporate campus. 
- <https://www.pressherald.com/2020/01/08/l-l-bean-nixes-corporate-relocation-in-favor-of-expansion/>

20 comments:

  1. One can only imagine. Thank you.

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  2. Change at Bean's has accelerated since senior management has gone to an outsider.

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  3. "The company has proposed creating a new tax increment financing district in Freeport that would help subsidize the cost of the project."

    Public subsidizing private property and private interests. Corporate socialism.

    Aiken

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    1. Sad, but true. "Give us money or we'll leave!"

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    2. Their hypocrisy is sadly not unsurprising.

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  4. The corporate world infiltrates everywhere and not always for the best. The simple and iconic things of life are becoming things of the past. Very sad.......

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  5. Better quality classic goods will solve all their problems

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  6. I wonder where the alternative locations were that were under consideration.

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  7. Capitalism for the socialists. Socialism for the capitalists.

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  8. There is no question that Bean should have remained exactly what it was in 1954. Catering to a small, devoted, semi-aristocratic group of prep-schoolers old and young. It never would have expanded, offered hundreds even thousands of jobs to folks, not to mention all the collateral businesses it supports, such as its vendors, transit drivers, etc. Yep, stay small, work for us so we can admire one another's Birdseye sweaters at soccer games! That's the Saltwaternewengland Way!

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    1. I think I understand what you're trying to say but in 1954, Bean was already a mature company, over 40 years old. I likewise doubt that your description of their customers is all that accurate. But what do I know.

      I do know, however, there are such companies in all sorts of industries, though there are few, probably more than you realize. Morgan Cars is one, Empire Wool and Canvas is another. Presumably Quoddy and Mercer & Sons are, too. At one time, Bass Shoes was, too. They all had and still have devoted customers, perhaps semi-aristocratic, perhaps not.

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    2. According to LL Bean, in 2018 "year-round employee count was approximately 5,200. During the winter holidays, with the addition of over 3,700 seasonal employees, the workforce grew to nearly 9,000." Their production facilities in Maine employ "over 400." Given where most of their products are made, the vast majority of their jobs are low-wage, offshore labor. And the Bird's-Eye sweater than was once 100% wool and made in Norway is now 45% wool and "imported," yet marketed as a "Heritage" item. Not positive changes, in my opinion.

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    3. actually, LL Bean's 'birds-eye' Norwegian sweater is 100% wool and still made in Norway. that differs from the Norwegian sweater they were selling decades ago because the older sweaters (also made in Norway, I still have and wear it) were 80% wool, 20% rayon. also, LL Bean has a large retail presence that employs over 1500 people, as well as over a dozen stores in Japan. they aren't counting offshore labor as "employees," no one does. I think it's probably best for Freeport's economy that the company stay and expand where it is, and this dialogue happens all over the country, all the time with large employers who could relocate to places with cheaper costs if they want.

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    4. As far as I can tell, the only Bird's-Eye sweater available on LL Bean's website is this one - 45% wool, not made in Norway: https://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/123519?page=heritage-sweater-pullover-bird-s-eye&bc=&feat=birds%20eye-SR0&csp=a&attrValue_0=Classic%20Navy%20Birdseye&searchTerm=birds%20eye

      I realize they don't count offshore manufacturing in their numbers. But they'd contribute a great deal more to the local economy if they manufactured more products in Maine.

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    5. @Emily - L.L. Bean buys Maine-made products for resale. They are really good about supporting local Maine makers.

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  9. I don't blame Bean for seeking an advantageous tax arrangement. All they did was ask. It is the city of Freeport giving away tax breaks. If you have an axe to grind about corporate taxation grind it with the elected officials. If that isn't a sufficient solution for you, run for city council.

    Be the change you seek.

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    1. It seems more than a little disingenuous for a company that earns $1.6 billion a year to 'ask' for $10 million in tax breaks otherwise they will pack up and leave. That sounds more like an offer they can't refuse. And all just so Beans can expand their office space. You are right, though, blame the ones who are put in a position of being damned if you do and damned if you don't. And when they refuse the tax breaks, you will be crying and blaming them more, calling them do nothing socialists or some other foolish label.

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  10. I like, “If I understand correctly what you are saying...” rather than “...what you are trying to say...”.

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  11. What L.L. Bean does for southern Maine is worth far more than $10 million.

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  12. I live in Virginia, so everything Bean sells could be seen here as imported.

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