From: Freeport, Maine
Founded: 1912 

There's nothing more characteristically New England than L.L. Bean. In 1911, Leon Leonwood Bean came back from a hunting trip with soggy, uncomfortable feet. In a moment of genius, Bean came up with the concept of slapping a rubber sole on a pair of leather boots, creating the Maine Hunting Shoe in the process. He sold 100 initial pairs of his soon-to-be-famed shoes, and 90 were returned due to faulty stitching. Bean made good on every returned pair by fully refunding each customer their $3.50. From that day on, L.L. Bean would stand behind each product, 100 percent. The boots would get better, and the brand would soon envelop into a full line of clothing, outdoors gear, homegoods, and everything in between.