L.L. Bean announced plans to increase the production of its popular hunting boots, using a new $1 million molding machine to make 1 million pairs a year by 2018, according to a Portland Press Herald report.
This comes as good news after the company has struggled to keep up with production since the increased demand for the boot over the last few years. The boot has been gaining recognition, serving as a heritage boot withstanding both the elements and time with its enduring style.
The new machine, introduced at the company’s open house at its new 106,000-square-foot plant in Lewiston, Maine on Thursday morning, will reportedly increase the company’s capacity for making the boots by one-third.
L.L. Bean CEO Steve Smith told the Portland Press Herald the added capacity translates to more than 550 people working year-round on orders out of the new Lewiston facility and its existing Brunswick facility combined. The company looks to add even more jobs, with 130 open manufacturing positions and another 40 full-time workers, across both facilities.
“Hiring is what is holding us back,” Smith told the Portland Press Herald, noting the goal is to exceed 700 people working in production by the end of the year. Barring the hires, L.L. Bean should be able to produce 3,200 pairs of boots a day.