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Spanx to Open First Freestanding Store

The 1,200-square-foot boutique in Tysons Corner Center in McLean, Va., is one of a series of openings in upscale shopping centers scheduled this fall.

Sara Blakely

Spanx will open its first freestanding store at Tysons Corner Center in McLean, Va., today.

The 1,200-square-foot boutique is one of a series of openings in upscale shopping centers scheduled this fall, including King of Prussia Mall in Pennsylvania in mid-November and Westfield Garden State Plaza in New Jersey. The New Jersey unit is slated to open Nov. 16 but may be delayed because of the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

“The Spanx store will be a place where everybody knows your name and your bra size — kind of like the TV show ‘Cheers,’” said Sara Blakely, founder of the Spanx shapewear brand. “It’s all about location and we have a very good location at Tysons Corner, right across from the American Girl store and next to L.L. Bean and the Bloomingdale’s entrance.”

Laurie Ann Goldman, chief executive officer of Spanx, said a “dedicated space was inevitable” for the growing number of men’s and women’s products that include bras, hosiery, swimwear and activewear.

“We knew that Tysons Corner was the perfect fit, and after signing the lease we were happy to learn that it was home to the first Apple store — not bad retail karma,” said Goldman.

The first store is rendered in accents of signature Spanx red, modernistic Lucite finishes and high-gloss lacquer paired with fun, feminine furnishings. Fitting rooms are spacious yet intimate and softly lit.

Opening-day festivities include a presentation by Blakely and Goldman at 10 a.m. The first 100 shoppers to arrive at the store will be greeted by a cheer squad and will be able to choose a complimentary item from the Tower of Power in-store display, which houses a range of packaged Spanx products from shapers to pantyhose, priced $26 to $38.

“We’ll have a Spanx flash mob in the shopping mall who will be handing out shaping spree cards ranging from $10 to $100,” said Blakely, who created the first Spanx shaping product in 2000 by cutting out the legs of control-top pantyhose.

Blakely further noted that the men’s category will be important.

“We’ll be featuring men’s underwear and T-shirts, as well as a kind of new yoga pant that holds things in very comfortably. The pant doesn’t have the seam that goes from the crotch to the waistband that can be so uncomfortable,” she said.

Regarding further store openings, Blakely said, “That’s it for now.” However, she added that she anticipates rolling out more units in the future.

Spanx — which generates estimated annual wholesale revenues of about $225 million to $240 million — sells its product in major department and specialty stores and boutiques in more than 50 countries, as well as at spanx.com.

Asked about rumors in the marketplace about taking the company public, Blakely replied: “I want to do what’s right for the brand….I own 100 percent of the brand….I have a different bottom line than Wall Street.”