Leon Gorman, Who Turned L.L Bean Into a National Powerhouse, Dies at 80

Leon Gorman, longtime CEO of L.L. Bean and the founder's grandon, passes at 80.

Image via New York Times

The man responsible for turning L.L. Bean into the legendary outdoors company it is today, and the company founder's grandson Leon Gorman has passed away at 80, the New York Times reports. Gorman had struggled with cancer for several years. 

Gorman was the CEO of the company for 34 years and took over when annual sales sat at $2.25 million in 1967. L.L. Beans's annual sales are now pegged at $1.6 billion. Although the company grew tremendously under his watch, Gorman managed to build it with honesty and integrity. The products are still made in Maine, where the company started, and are known for their incredibly high quality. L.L. Bean is also one of the few companies that guarantees that its products will last a lifetime. 

In his memoir, L.L. Bean: The Making of an American Icon, Gorman writes about what he is most proud of. "My proudest accomplishment is growing my grandfather’s company from employing less than 100 people in 1960 to employing tens of thousands of good Maine people over the generations; building a company based on solid Maine values of integrity, customer service, respect for people, a love of the outdoors, and above all, perseverance," he wrote, according to the New York Times

In honor of its longtime CEO, the L.L. Bean flagship store in Freeport, Maine will close voluntarily for the first time in 48 years, ABC reports. The store typically stays open 24 hours a day, seven days a week regardless of holidays. It has only chosen to close twice before; after the deaths of President John F. Kennedy and its founder Leon Leonwood Bean. The store will be closed for half the day for Gorman's memorial service on Sunday, Sept. 13. 

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