Beep beep! L.L.Bean Bootmobile parks on campus for first time

The+Bootmobile+will+continue+traveling+along+the+East+Coast+until+the+end+of+December.

Photo by Madeline Marriott for The Lafayette

The Bootmobile will continue traveling along the East Coast until the end of December.

It’s not every day that a 13-foot high, 20-foot long boot-shaped car is parked on the Quad. However, for retail company L.L.Bean, this is part of their usual routine.

This past Tuesday and Wednesday, the company’s signature shoe-shaped car visited campus with a pop-up shop as part of its fall college tour. The vehicle, known as the Bootmobile, is a replica of a Bean Boot, the company’s signature waterproof shoe.

Besides a good view of the massive boot, the pop-up shop featured quintessential L.L.Bean products and outdoor clothing such as jackets, hats, winter socks and shoes.

The Bootmobile was built in 2012 to celebrate 100 years of L.L.Bean. This year marks the 10th year of the Bootmobile and the 110th year of the company. The vehicle has been on the road ever since its creation.

“We just started touring the country and trying to bring joy wherever we go, [to] inspire people to get outside,” Kevin Parker, an experiential marketing planner for the company, said. 

The Bootmobile’s tour kicked off on Sept. 20 at the University of New Hampshire and will continue throughout the East Coast until the end of December. By the end of the tour, they will have visited places in states such as Connecticut, Maryland, Virginia and its home state of Maine.

While its past stops have been mostly concentrated in New England, the Bean team is hoping to reach further south this year than ever before. 

“[I’m] hoping to actually get us as far south as North Carolina this year, which would be a new state for us,” Parker said. 

The crew was inspired to come to Lafayette because they were looking for new stops in Pennsylvania to explore. They had only previously visited Dickinson College, the alma mater of L.L.Bean CEO Stephen Smith. 

“It’s really exciting when a Bootmobile comes on your campus,” Parker said. “We just loved the area of Easton, so figured we’d try it out.”

Though the Bootmobile was only stationed on the Quad for two days, Parker and the other employees grew fond of campus and downtown Easton very quickly. “The campus is beautiful. This is a great spot on a big grassy quad,” he said. 

The company started doing pop-up shops in 2017 and completes a college tour every fall. The shops were inspired by customers who wanted to buy L.L.Bean products from the Bootmobile when it was in travel advertising the company. 

The Bootmobile purposefully stops in areas that are far away from L.L.Bean retail stores to provide products to people who do not typically have access to them.

“We just love bringing all of our products and the brand and meeting customers where they’re at,” Parker said. “[We’re] really trying to fill a need to get people outfitted for the season.”

Throughout the tour, the Bootmobile has been stopping at college campuses on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, as well as in medium-sized cities and towns on weekends. 

“Everybody’s so happy to see us and it’s just honestly a lot of fun,” Parker said.