Two iconic retailers make their long awaited official debuts in Bloomington today, L.L. Bean and Total Wine.

L.L. Bean was courted by Mall of America for six years, but the Maine-based outdoor retailer known for its Bean boot, everyday free shipping and unconditional guarantee opened today in Mall of America at 9 a.m. More than 350 people were in line at 8:30 this morning, said senior marketing manager Mac McKeever, including one customer from Maine who was in line at 1:30 a.m. Many are likely to be hoping to score a $500 gift card. The company will be give away gift cards from $10 to $500 to the first 200 people in line.

But another good reason to go to L.L. Bean this weekend is that the Mall of America store is the only one in the country that has its iconic, trendy Bean Boot (pictured) in stock. The company deliberately overstocked the MOA store in anticipation of the opening. The only way to obtain the shoes is to visit the store (online stock is also depleted). Customers cannot ask to have them shipped. "They've always been popular with outdoors customers, but now they're popular on college campuses and as a fashion item," McKeever said.

The store is on the first floor between Macy's and the former Bloomingdale's. It occupies much of the former Bloomie's space on the first floor, but it's set back to a degree that it's easy to miss as you're passing by Forever 21. The store also has its own entrance from the parking lot.

Total Wine in Bloomington opened today at 9 a.m. after a year long delay. The store is next to Trader Joe's at I-494 and France at 4260 West 78th Street. The first 200 people to walk through the door received a gift bag with a 2-pk. of Reidel O glassware. Free tastings will be held throughout the weekend.

David Trone, president of Maryland-based Total Wine, expects the Bloomington store to be very successful. Roseville and Burnsville are already far exceeding sales expectations after opening earlier this year, Trone said.The Woodbury store opened last Friday.

Total Wine superstores typically offer 8,000 wines, 3,000 spirits and 2,500 beers. The chain has 113 stores.


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