LEWISTON, Maine (AP) — L.L. Bean is kicking it up a notch as demand continues to surge for its iconic boot.
The Maine-based outdoors retailer has leased a larger, 110,000-square-foot building in Lewiston, where it plans to install a third injection-molding machine to manufacture rubber soles. The company also plans to hire 100 more workers in the new year to make the boots.
Annual sales of the rubber-bottomed, leather-topped "duck boot" have grown from fewer than 100,000 a decade ago to more than 600,000. The company expects to hit 1 million in 2018.
The boot is a bright spot for U.S. footwear manufacturing. Most production has moved offshores, but the L.L. Bean boot is still made at factories in Lewiston and Brunswick, Maine.