A sizable crowd gathered on the lower level of the International Plaza early Friday morning, awaiting the grand opening of the new Spanx store. Fans of the undergarments and shapewear waited in a very lengthy line for a chance to peruse the store, while models wearing Spanx tees and tutus (with their Spanx strategically peeking out beneath) strutted around carrying clever, Spanx-centric signage—“United we slim,” and “SPANX has your butt covered.”
For Spanx creator Sara Blakely, the opening was a homecoming — Blakely was born in Clearwater and attended Clearwater High School.
According to Blakely, opening a store in Tampa has great personal significance.
“It’s because of this community that I’m the person that I am today,” Blakely said before cutting the ribbon (appropriately made out of hosiery) to open the store.
Mayor Bob Buckhorn was on hand to introduce Blakely, calling her the “pride of Tampa.”
The praise is certainly warranted—with the creation of Spanx, Blakely became the first self-made female billionaire. Yes — billionaire.
Since Oprah named Spanx one of her “Favorite Things” in 2000, the company has grown exponentially. The bodysuit shapewear has become a staple on red carpets — allowing stars to look seamless and slim in their couture gowns. Spanx retail stores are popping up across the country — adding momentum to the slimming movement.
The Spanx retail store features the famous shapewear, along with pantyhose, active wear, swim wear and men’s wear. Appointments are available with members of the Spanx Transformation Team for one-on-one styling consultations.