On Tuesday, Oct. 4 and Wednesday, Oct. 5, Fairfield University got the boot – the famous L.L. Bean “Bootmobile” that is.
Students walking or driving through campus near Loyola Hall and the Aloysius P. Kelley, S.J. Center could not miss this unique pop-up. Standing at 13 feet high, 20 feet long and looking identical to the company’s famous Maine Hunting Shoe, the Bootmobile made its mark on Fairfield’s campus.
Lucky for Fairfield students, the distinctive transportation also signified an L.L. Bean pop-up shop, the only L.L. Bean pop-up to happen on a Connecticut college campus during the tour.
The Bootmobile, first constructed in 2012 for the company’s centennial anniversary, has traveled near and far in the United States and even Canada. This specific tour, which launched in late September, celebrates L.L. Bean’s 110th anniversary and begins and ends in Maine. Over the course of the fourth-month tour, the Bootmobile will stop at more than 35 communities and college campuses.
Behind the Bootmobile is the trailer that pops up to create the mobile store.
L.L. Bean Experiential Marketing Specialist Mandee Flanders said, “We actually get stopped at a lot of gas stations or at our hotels and people walk up to us and say, ‘Hey, we want to buy something out of your trailer.’”
But it’s really not that easy.
“Little do they know we have a lot packed into there and it all has to come out onto the ground, like the racks of clothes and other items,” she continued. “We can’t just open up shop at a gas station and quickly ring someone out — we’re not that mobile. We have to set up registers and our internet just like you would at a normal store.”
Since all the products must fit into the trailer and Bootmobile, only the most popular products come to these events.
Flanders shared some of the staples students had the opportunity to purchase during the pop-up: Bean boots, winter boots, sweatshirts, gloves, beanies, pom hats, light jackets and some winter jackets.
The products included in the tour aim to match the season, so many of the items brought fell into what is needed for the fall and winter, so people had the opportunity to get some colder climate apparel.
Sadly, the pop-up did not have any rain jackets available for purchase – an unfortunate fact for L.L. Bean since the event fell over the course of a very rainy two days.
But Flanders assured that if students wanted to buy something not available at the pop-up, they would be able to order it online with the help of one of the associates on the ground at the University.
The sherpa-lined flannels were a top seller to Fairfield U students, according to Flanders. Described as an “ultrawarm, Sherpa-lined Scot Plaid flannel shirt” that “combines two favorites in one – legendary Scotch Plaid flannel and soft Sherpa fleece.”
It seems as though Stags really enjoyed the pop-up, as Flanders stated that on Oct. 4, “we had people at the register for four hours straight because of how busy it was.”
Just a few weeks into the tour, Flanders said they are “just getting started” and are still booking stops on the tour.