ELLSWORTH, Maine — The L.L.Bean Outlet store in Ellsworth is poised to expand, adding jobs and products to its only Down East brick-and-mortar location.
Construction began late in February and will continue through May, company spokesman Mac McKeever said on Wednesday. The store is expanding into an adjoining suite at the 150 High Street shopping plaza, which most recently housed Downeast Billiards.
The construction is evident from inside the store, where an entire wall has been replaced with particle board and power tools can be heard on the other side. The current store is about 12,000 square feet, McKeever said, and will be 16,000 square feet when the expansion is complete.
McKeever said the expansion will mean “not only more space to shop, but also give us the ability to offer a greater selection of products, more styles, more colors, more variety. You’re gonna see an increase in the amount of outdoor gear and apparel.”
The store currently employs 20 full- and part-time employees, McKeever said, and another 10 will be hired to staff the new, larger shop.
The L.L.Bean Outlet in Ellsworth is one of three outlet stores in Maine for the behemoth of outdoor recreation equipment and clothing. The other outlet stores are located in Bangor and Freeport, and each offers discontinued merchandise.
The Ellsworth location offers easy access to several hot spots for outdoor recreation.
“It’s been a terrific location for us,” McKeever said. “It’s a great community, and [the area] has a dynamic array of natural resources, in addition to Acadia National Park.”
The expansion in Ellsworth comes as the company announces its revenues have returned to pre-recession levels: For its 2012 fiscal year ending Feb. 23, 2013, L.L.Bean reported a “modest gain in net sales” — about half a percent, according to a news brief in the Washington Post — and annual revenues of $1.521 billion.
With profits back up, the company announced it would pay a 7.5 percent bonus to its roughly 5,000 full- and part-time employees.
Follow Mario Moretto on Twitter at @riocarmine.