Nov. 6, 2012 at 11:09 AM ET
Spanx, the popular shapewear company that sells slimming undergarments, has opened its first standalone retail store — just in time for Thanksgiving. (Or should we say, Spanxgiving?)
The Atlanta-based company opened a retail location Nov. 2 in Tysons Corner Center in McLean, Va. The first 100 shoppers received a free pair of hosiery, which normally ranges in price from $26 to $38.
“The Spanx store will be a place where everybody knows your name...and your bra size!,” said Spanx founder Sara Blakely in a written statement. Blakely, 41, was on the cover of Forbes magazine earlier this year after making the company's billionaires list.
Previously, women could only buy Spanx online or at other retail stores such as Nordstrom or Neiman Marcus.
Shoppers at the new store now will be able to get in-person guidance from a member of the sales staff. The team has been trained by Spanx to fully understand the company’s various product lines. “They know which pieces to pair with outerwear garments,” Charlotte Bissell, public relations coordinator for Spanx, told TODAY Money.
Customers looking for some extra support can also call ahead to schedule a one-on-one consultation appointment. “Team members can talk with customers about issues they’ve had in the past and help them fix those,” Bissell said.
Spanx plans to open two more retail stores this year: one at the King of Prussia Mall near Philadelphia, opening Nov. 9, and a location at the Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus, N.J., opening Nov. 16.
Spanx has been working to eradicate the VPL (visible panty line) from society since it went into production in 2000. Oprah declared the original Spanx undergarment (which is essentially a pair of control-top panty hose, minus the hose) one of her favorite things that year, and the rest is history. Since then, the humorously named piece has been joined by the likes of the Bra-lellujah! and the Bod-A-Bing!, all of which can be found in the new retail store, along with activewear and even items for the guys.
With the new locations opening just before the holidays, Spanx will likely be providing the foundational support for a lot of parties and events this season. So, what are the must-have holiday party items? Bissell predicts the company’s line of hosiery will be a popular one, as will the Bra-lelluljah!, which helps create a smooth back. But, she cautions, “Shapewear’s not a one-hit wonder. Depending on the outfit, you have different shapewear needs.”
Dana Macario is a Seattle-area writer who has been known to turn to shapewear to help tame her tummy from time to time.
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