February 9, 2013

L.L. Bean credit-card purchase wins Maine couple $1 million

By Noel K. Gallagher ngallagher@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

Marjorie Thompson went looking for a birthday gift for her 3-year-old granddaughter, Ella, and wound up with a million bucks.

Thompson said she and her husband stop at the Kimball Shop & Boutique regularly when they cruise up the coast in their boat to Northeast Harbor.

They had bought some hors d'oeuvres cutlery there for themselves, and Thompson realized that the small forks and knives would be the perfect size for Ella to use at the table.

That credit-card purchase won L.L. Bean's $1 million grand prize, concluding the retailer's 100th anniversary celebration and sweepstakes.

"It was a total surprise," said Thompson, whose L.L. Bean credit card is the only credit card that she and her husband have.

During the national sweepstakes, which started in March and ran through December, every L.L. Bean Visa card holder automatically got a chance to win one of 25 monthly prizes with every purchase with their card.

"Given the huge number of entries in the sweepstakes, it is remarkable that the winning cardholder resides in Maine and the winning purchase was made here in Maine," said Shelly Bartlett, L.L. Bean's vice president of card services.

Sweepstakes winners were selected in a random drawing under the supervision of Marden-Kane Inc., an independent judging organization, L.L. Bean said. Each month, 25 entrants were chosen to receive prizes ranging from $500 L.L. Bean gift cards to Bean boots. Card holders from 38 states won prizes.

Thompson, who said she and her husband are "mostly" retired, said she's not planning any big purchases or trips with the $1 million -- although she has gone back to the Kimball Shop to buy a few more sets of that cutlery for her other grandchildren.

"The money will get saved and reinvested," she said. Thompson, who taught history, now weaves table linens and researches hand-woven American textiles from the pre-Civil War era.

Thompson said L.L. Bean told her she had won about three weeks ago.

"They backed a truck up in the driveway," she said. After telling her they were giving away various prizes, like a kayak, "they pulled the gate of the truck up and two guys were there with a million dollar posterboard check and balloons and flowers."

Noel K. Gallagher can be contacted at 791-6387 or at:

ngallagher@pressherald.com

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