Christina Lee, Photography Editor

L.L. Bean, a staple of Broadway, will be leaving the city in mid-February in a move that marks the closing of a second Connecticut store for the chain in a three-year period. 

The company closed their outlet in Orange, Conn., in 2019 but still has stores in South Windsor and Danbury.

The decision, which was announced earlier this year, aims to help the company optimize its customer service and general operations.

“This decision comes as we evolve the size and concept of our stores to best serve customers going forward,” reads L.L. Bean’s statement to the News. “While it is difficult to close a location, we are undertaking the closure  with great care for our employees and with the knowledge we can continue to serve Connecticut customers,” referencing their online and other stores.

James Sinclair, a music director who lives in the city, was shocked by the decision, considering L.L. Bean had outlasted competitors in the area, including Patagonia, which closed in 2022.

“It seemed like a perfect fit here. And they drove out to businesses that were somewhat parallel,” Sinclair said. 

Other patrons were not surprised by L.L. Bean’s departure as a result of the franchise’s limited availability and lack of merchandise variation at the outlet.

Sylvia Van Sinderin, another patron, found the franchise’s limited focus challenging and described difficulty finding clothing from L.L. Bean’s website.

“Well, the store was never big enough. With a very limited focus and a lot of the things that I usually get from L.L. Bean weren’t available here anyway,” Van Sinderin said. “But I do miss being able to pop in and they were good. If they didn’t have a pair of shoes in stock you can just get on your computer. But I’ll miss the in-person service. It’s always been good service here.”

She also highlighted the lack of non-student centric items and clothing. 

Others shared similar sentiments, including Savannah Eastler ’26.

Broadway’s L.L. Bean didn’t quite capture “the spirit” of the chain, according to Eastler, who cited its small space and location on Broadway. “I think that maybe you can’t be half an L.L. Bean and that was sort of half an L.L. Bean. If you’re not ginormous and in the middle of the woods and you also don’t have like three stories and sell fishing poles, you’re not a real L.L. Bean.”

A future tenant for 272 Elm St. has not been selected, but there are a few businesses vying for the space.

David DelVecchio, a director of real estate and asset management for Yale, highlighted the potential for another fashion retailer occupying the building. According to him, this business could be open later this year.

Van Sinderen hopes that the new tenant is a business that lasts, especially after the past few years’ series of closures.

“I just want someone who’s committed. Maybe not a chain because … it’s really easy to go online and just shop there unless you’re looking for something unique,” Sinderen said. “And it’s just kind of fun to go shopping the old way.”

L.L. Bean’s New Haven location opened in August 2018.

Nati Tesfaye is a sophomore in Branford College from East Haven, Connecticut. He covers business, workers and unions in the city of New Haven. Last year, he covered housing and homelessness for the News.
Tyson Odermann is a first-year in Pauli Murray College from Parshall, North Dakota. He covers business, unions, and the economy in the city of New Haven.