Craig Dilger

LEWISTON, MAINE When the phone rings at a call center inside a former department store here, it's as much story time as sales time. As in: I was in Maine four summers ago. What's it like in the winter? Or: Our dog ate my husband's favorite slippers. Can you help me replace them before he finds out?As the holiday orders pour in, some 3,600 L.L. Bean employees in this old mill town and elsewhere in Maine work the phones, answering questions, taking orders and, quite often, listening to warm, fuzzy stories. Customer service is a hallmark of this venerable

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