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Small Town Rules: How Big Brands and Small Businesses Can Prosper in a Connected Economy by Becky McCray, Barry J. Moltz

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Powerhouse Small Town Brands

L.L. Bean

Freeport, Maine: Population 7,800

L.L. Bean catalogs and stores have brought the Maine outdoors lifestyle to an audience around the world, without ever leaving home.

There really was a man named L.L. Bean: Leon Leonwood Bean. He started his company in 1912 to sell waterproof hunting boots. He was a hunter himself, so he knew what worked in the field. His brother had a clothing store in Freeport Corner, in Freeport, Maine, so L.L. used the basement to start his mail-order business. He quickly hit a setback: 90 of the first 100 pairs of his original production proved defective and were returned. He made good on the money-back guarantee for every pair. Then, he fixed the design and kept going.

Today, L.L. Bean ...

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