Cazenovia L.L. Bean’s Outdoor Discovery School in Cazenovia, which started offering kayaking classes in June out of Lakeland Park, turned out to be so successful this year that the company plans to continue its offerings this winter with snowshoeing as well as more classes next summer, Trustee Jim Joseph told the village board at its Nov. 4 meeting.
“Greg Schwartz [department manager for the L.L. Bean Fayetteville store’s Outdoor Discovery School] wants to make this the best Discovery School in North America,” Joseph said. “He’s got big plans.”
Earlier this year, L.L. Bean revamped its Fayetteville outlet store into a full retail store, and part of the change included the decision to offer one of its Outdoor Discovery Schools at a nearby location. Outdoor Discovery Schools offer demonstrations, clinics and introductory hands-on activities for L.L. Bean’s customers such as kayaking, fly casting, clay shooting, archery, biking and canoeing.
In May, Joseph – whose corporate background includes being the former president and CEO of Oneida Ltd. and personally acquainted with L.L. Bean executives for 25 years – announced that negotiations with the company had commenced and were progressing. Within two weeks, the deal had been made for Cazenovia Lake to be the latest L.L. Bean Outdoor Discovery School destination.
On June 1, a green L.L. Bean trailer loaded with kayaks and kayaking equipment was parked near the beach access in Lakeland Park, and for the entire summer the company offered kayaking classes every weekend from Cazenovia.
The Cazenovia Lake location was so successful this year that Schwartz intends to offer snowshoeing classes this winter from Cazenovia – with possible snowshoeing routes to include the trails and grounds on and around Lorenzo State Historic Site or in the wetlands behind Oneida Savings Bank – and next summer plans to offer more kayaking, as well as paddle boarding and fly casting, Joseph said.