L.L. Bean, Five Guys to enter Hampshire County for 1st time

  • L.L. Bean plans to open a store in Hadley in the fall of 2019. Here is a picture of their first store in Maine. WIKICOMMONS

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

HADLEY — Two national chains — Five Guys and L.L. Bean — will open their first stores in Hampshire County next year, setting up shop in an expansion planned for the Mountain Farms Mall off Route 9.

Five Guys Burgers and Fries and L.L. Bean will occupy space in separate buildings to be constructed at the 334 Russell St. mall where Whole Foods, Walmart, Barnes & Noble and other chains are located.

L.L. Bean’s store will be about 15,000 square feet and employ about 50 people, according to a press release from the Maine-based apparel company on Tuesday. Spokesman Eric Smith said that hiring details will become clearer closer to the opening in the fall of 2019.

“It’s more than a year away,” Smith said.

The store will have its own building, which is going to be built alongside a separate 10,000-square-foot building that will house Five Guys and other tenants.

The new buildings are planned for sites next to Route 9 that formerly housed Florence Bank and Burger King. “We’re excited,” said Dan Hester, development manager at Mountain Farms.

He said construction on the project is set to begin by the end of July.

This will be the sixth L.L. Bean store in Massachusetts, but the first in the western part of the state. Smith noted that L.L. Bean has stores in Albany, New York, and South Windsor, Connecticut, and that the company has been looking at the area for some time.

“This has been overdue in some ways,” Smith said.

As for why Hadley was selected, Smith said that in addition to the strong local customer base, the presence of the five colleges means that many people who are not from New England visit the area, and can be introduced to L.L. Bean.

He also said that the University of Massachusetts Amherst has been a successful stop on L.L. Bean’s college tours, which have involved popup retail on college campuses.

Five Guys plans

Massachusetts Burger Enterprises, which owns the franchise rights for Five Guys in Hampshire County, has been prepared to expand into the Mountain Farms for the last few years.

Massachusetts Burger Enterprises CEO Marc Magerman said the Natick company has had Hampshire County in its territory since is was founded in 2009. The chain currently operates 13 Five Guys restaurants in Worcester and Middlesex counties. Other Five Guys restaurants are located in West Springfield, Westfield and E.

The Five Guys in Hadley will be about 2,500 square feet and employ 35 to 40 employees. The store, which will have a patio, is set to be located on one end of the mall.

Magerman said that Massachusetts Burger Enterprises signed a lease agreement for a space at Mountain Farms Mall about four years ago.

“We’ve chosen to continue to renew it,” said Magerman, speaking of the lease, which it has done so yearly since it was signed. “We’re not in a rush.”

He also said that the mall’s developer, WS Development, has given October of 2019 as when the franchise will be able to move in.

Hester roughly confirmed this timeline.

On the decision to locate the franchise in Hadley, Magerman said that the goal is to locate Five Guys franchises in high-traffic areas.

He also noted the Mountain Farms Mall’s proximity to UMass, of which Magerman is an alumnus.

“College kids love to come to Five Guys,” he said.

However, he said that the real draw to the spot was its location on the Route 9 corridor.

“Our location is going to be right in the heart of that area,” Magerman said.

As for competition, Magerman said that Five Guys actually likes being located near other restaurants for the traffic that they generate.

“We like being around other food concepts,” he said.

Currently, the Mountain Farms Mall includes Whole Foods and Panera Bread.

Magerman said that while the company has considered opening a store in Northampton, the right space hasn’t opened up yet.

He also said the first Five Guys will open in Hadley before any other location is brought in, as the company wants to make sure one store doesn’t cannibalize the business of the other.

Bera Dunau can be reached at bdunau@gazettenet.com.