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L.L. Bean arrives in Cazenovia

Lakeland Park chosen for company's newest Outdoor Discovery School

Members of the Cazenovia Village Board and representatives of L.L. Bean Fayetteville store's Outdoor Discovery School met at Lakeland Park Saturday, June 1, when a trailer full of kayaks for the school arrived at the lake. Classes begin in Cazenovia on June 8. From left, Trustee Amy Mann; Greg Schwarz, department manager for the L.L. Bean Fayetteville store’s Outdoor Discovery School; Matt Teeter, ODS instructor; Mayor Kurt Wheeler and Trustee Jim Joseph.

Members of the Cazenovia Village Board and representatives of L.L. Bean Fayetteville store's Outdoor Discovery School met at Lakeland Park Saturday, June 1, when a trailer full of kayaks for the school arrived at the lake. Classes begin in Cazenovia on June 8. From left, Trustee Amy Mann; Greg Schwarz, department manager for the L.L. Bean Fayetteville store’s Outdoor Discovery School; Matt Teeter, ODS instructor; Mayor Kurt Wheeler and Trustee Jim Joseph. Photo by Jason Emerson.

— Less than two weeks after discussions began, it’s official: L.L. Bean has chosen Cazenovia Lake as the location of its latest “Outdoor Discovery School.”

“The eagle has landed,” Trustee Jim Joseph, who coordinated the deal for the village, said into his cell phone Saturday afternoon, June 1, as he and other village board members watched the green L.L. Bean trailer full of kayaks back into place near the public swimming area in Lakeland Park.

The trailer will remain there through the summer as the meeting and launching location for L.L. Bean’s kayaking Outdoor Discovery School every Saturday and Sunday, where patrons will experience a two-hour introductory class on kayaking for $20.

“Really this is to introduce people to the sport and hopefully to get involved,” said Greg Schwarz, department manager for the L.L. Bean Fayetteville store’s Outdoor Discovery School, who accompanied the green trailer to Cazenovia. “If this works out this year, it will be an advanced kayaking program next year.”

Already L.L. Bean is planning a variety of kayaking classes and tours on Cazenovia Lake for this summer and fall, such as sunset tours and fall foliage tours, as well as snowshoeing classes and tours this winter, Schwarz said.

The partnership between L.L. Bean, one of the world’s largest outdoor apparel and equipment companies, and the village of Cazenovia was broached, discussed, negotiated and brought to fruition in about two weeks.

The company announced in late April that its outlet store in Fayetteville Towne Center, which opened in 2007, will be converted to a full retail store on June 7. Unlike outlet stores, L.L. Bean retail store locations have Outdoor Discovery Schools that offer demonstrations, clinics and introductory hands-on activities for their customers such as kayaking, fly casting, clay shooting, archery, biking and canoeing.

In May, L.L. Bean representatives began looking around the Central New York region for the best location to host its Fayetteville Outdoor Discovery School. They were considering Cazenovia Lake, Oneida Lake, Jamesville Reservoir and parts of the Erie Canal.

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