L.L. Bean store in Orange to close in January
Iconic outdoor goods retailer L.L. Bean is planning to close its outlet store in Orange at the start of 2019, a company spokesman confirmed.
L.L. Bean has had an outlet store in the Orange Meadow Shopping Center since 2007, Mac McKeever, a spokesman for the Freeport, Maine, retailer, said. But as part of an annual review the company does with all of its stores across the country, McKeever said a determination was made to close the Orange store in January.
“We do a thorough examination of our entire array of stores throughout the country and conduct an evaluation, based on a variety of factors that make the basis for store opening and closing decisions,” he said. “One of these factors was the close proximity between our Orange outlet and our new full retail store in New Haven, which is just 10 miles away. In addition, the store was in need of a large remodel, so considering these elements, among others, we decided not to renew our lease.”
The New Haven store, in the city’s Broadway shopping district, opened in August. The roughly 20 employees who work at the Orange store were informed of the closing this summer, McKeever said.
“We wanted to give our employees as much of a heads-up as possible,” he said. “We informed employees of opportunities to apply at the New Haven store and we have also provided severance and outplacement for year-round employees to assist with finding other positions.”
McKeever said the company has no plans to close any of its other Connecticut locations. The company has 55 stores in 19 states including Connecticut.
The Orange store is L.L. Bean’s only outlet center in the state. In addition to the New Haven location, L.L. Bean has stores is Danbury at the Danbury Fair Mall and in South Windsor at the Promenade Shop at Evergreen Walk.
The Orange store is a little more than 13,000 square feet, in a shopping center with tenants including Trader Joe’s and Talbots Outlet.
Orange First Selectman Jim Zeoli said Wednesday that neither L.L. Bean officials nor the owner of the Orange Meadows Shopping Center, Greenwich-based Urstadt Biddle Properties, contacted town officials about the closing. Zeoli said he recently purchased a pair of sneakers at the store, which he said is more convenient for shoppers than the New Haven location.
“It’s extremely unfortunate to hear about this,” Zeoli said. “I think the store has been a real asset to the community and I think they are making a mistake by comparing it to their store in New Haven. They are two different types of stores with different clientele.”
New of L.L. Bean’s Orange store closing comes on the heels of Monday’s announcement that home improvement retailer Lowe’s is closing its Boston Post Road store on the east side of Orange, near the West Haven line . And warehouse shopping club giant Sam’s Club announced in January that it was closing it Orange store.
Zeoli said he’s concerned the store closings could portend the coming of another recession.
“The economy took a dive shortly after I took office in 2005 and I’m seeing some of the same signs now,” Zeoli said. “This (the store closings) is casualty of the economic times and it just seems as though the economy is headed into the deep end of the pool.”