The corner store of the future has a cafe selling coffee and pastries, hosts wine tastings, whips up elote avocado toast, and offers its inventory for app-based delivery. That’s the vision behind Foxtrot, an e-commerce and retail company from Chicago that’s opening up two locations in D.C. this year.
This will be the third market for Foxtrot, which began in 2015 and is growing rapidly. The company announced a $17 million fundraising round today.
“Foxtrot is our take on a modern corner store that lives in your neighborhood and on your phone,” Foxtrot co-founder and CEO Mike LaVitola tells Eater.
The stores are expected to open in Georgetown (1267 Wisconsin Avenue NW) in May and Mt. Vernon Triangle in June (address TBD). Each shop is equally divided between market, cafe, and coffee shop, with about 40 to 50 seats per location. From the retail outposts, Foxtrot employees can make deliveries to local customers in under an hour.
“In the morning, the shops are really acting as great third-wave coffee shops. There’s a big morning rush for coffee and pastries and breakfast tacos,” LaVitola explains. “Then as the day goes on, it really transitions to that delivery use case where people are logging on and they’re getting lunch delivered and they are getting home from work and they’re ordering a great bottle of wine and ice cream so they can stay in and watch Netflix for the night.”
In Chicago, cafe menu items include dishes like farro pesto grain bowls, chorizo and egg tacos, açaí bowls, breakfast sandwiches with zhug (spicy cilantro sauce) and baby kale on brioche, and that elote avocado toast with roasted corn and cotija cheese.
Foxtrot will partner with local roaster Vigilante for its coffee program. That’s part of its plans to sell local items, including doughnuts or cookies or beer (Foxtrot will host a vendor open house in March to connect to D.C. brands).
“It’s a great place to find all these really interesting local products, like an amazing bottle of wine, super cool craft beer, but if you’re out of toothpaste, you’re out of toilet paper, we have that too and it’s going to show up really fast,” LaVitola says.
D.C has long been on Foxtrot’s radar, and this launch follows its Dallas opening in 2019. Over the past two years, the team spent time talking to locals about which Washington neighborhoods to target and put more research time into walking around the city.
Georgetown’s neighborhood feel, combined with the university, made LaVitola and his team think of Chicago’s Lincoln Park. Mt. Vernon’s combination of retail, office, and residential reminded them of their stores in River North.
“There’s so much that’s interesting and unique about D.C. but it’s always interesting in our heads to make parallels back to the place that we know really well and start from there,” he says.