Store Spotlight: Foxtrot

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11/09/2021
Jacqueline Barba
Associate Editor | profile
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a store front at day

Foxtrot — not the dance, but the rapidly growing, Chicago-based grocery/convenience store chain and e-commerce marketplace — has emerged as a retail disrupter. Still relatively unknown nationwide, Foxtrot currently operates about a dozen physical stores primarily located in its hometown, plus newer locations in Dallas and Washington, D.C. It plans to add 50 more stores in New York, Boston, Miami, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and Austin, Texas, over the next two years.

The urban small-format retailer weaves together the best of digital and in-store to create a unique omnichannel experience for shoppers. Signage throughout the stores promotes its proprietary mobile app and digital offerings. Plus, the retailer offers nationwide shipping of select items via one of the company’s latest ventures: Foxtrot Anywhere. The service is framed as curated gift boxes with a mix of its top-selling products as well as items that fit certain themes, such as a “Coffee Trio” and a “New School Pantry” box.

Another key way Foxtrot differentiates itself is through its on-trend offerings that appeal to consumers’ (especially younger consumers’) evolving demands, including:

Products sourced from local makers and small businesses.

Frequently added trending products and categories like CBD-infused products.

Ready-to-eat and -drink offerings like charcuterie, personalized gifting and custom wrapping options.

On-demand delivery for locals.

Path to Purchase IQ recently visited Foxtrot Market in Chicago’s Old Town neighborhood, located kitty-corner from iconic comedy club Second City and the Old Town Ale House, an infamous late-night bar. At 3,650 square feet (a typical amount for Foxtrot stores), the store feels digestible and doubles as a cafe, seating 50 indoors and another 34 outside, scattered among two patios.

 

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a dining room table
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a store inside of a building

Immediately upon entering the brightly lit store, shoppers view the cafe counter, which is positioned in the center of the store and offers locally brewed coffee, tea and libations, as well as food such as avocado toast and breakfast tacos. Foxtrot also offers a seasonal menu, crafted by an executive chef, designed with freshness and speed in mind, according to the company.

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a store front at night

Foxtrot stocks beer and more than 200 wine bottles, both chilled and room temperature. Coolers (with “Fine Wines” illuminated signage) stock white wines, rose and champagne, while a gondola rack and wall shelf merchandise an assortment of red wines. 

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a display in a store
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a store shelf filled with books

The store includes a grab-and-go food and beverage section, featuring illuminated signage and shelf lighting. The section stocks everything from ice cream and frozen pizzas to fresh salads, hummus and charcuterie boxes. Individual canned beverages, including Recess’ CBD-infused wellness drink, are merchandised in the section. The company has evolved its culinary program, which inspires its grab-and-go food items that are a core of the store. (It recently hired Tae Strain as corporate executive chef.)

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a store filled with lots of counter space

Foxtrot’s products for gifting occupy a key area in the store. A wall in the back merchandises a slew of trendy and locally made products, including Foxtrot merchandise and curated gift boxes, water bottles and mugs, candles, and various CBD and CBD-infused products from indie brands Not Pot, Ripple by Stillwater Brands and Hugs CBD.

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a display in a store

Foxtrot sells an assortment of private-label products (an area of growth) as it aims to disrupt the current idea of c-store fast food with an eye on cafe foods and premium packaged goods in playful, bright packaging. In the Old Town store, the retailer uses an endcap in the perishable snack section to merchandise new gummy packages from Foxtrot. This section is also where shoppers can find some national and mass brands merchandised.

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Foxtrot’s delivery services are a key part of its operations and story. The retailer offers local on-demand delivery in as little as 30 to 60 minutes, and shipping nationwide on select products. Foxtrot actually launched as a digital wine and beer delivery service in Chicago in 2014 and expanded to brick-and-mortar after its founders said its customers were also hungry for food and coffee. Because of its roots, the retailer’s sales are still split, with about half coming from online sales. In addition to its own couriers, Foxtrot is available via DoorDash and other third-party services.

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a store inside of a building

A notable part of the Old Town Foxtrot is a walk-up to-go window, open on weekends. The limited menu comprises coffee and a small selection of breakfast tacos for the morning, as well as ice cream and Recess’ CBD beverage cans.

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a store inside of a kitchen

Some Foxtrot stores call attention to the relatively large ice cream assortment with an illuminated “Ice Cream” sign above freezers. The retailer stocks mostly emerging and indie brands, including Columbus, Ohio-based Jeni’s. In addition, Foxtrot teamed with Los Angeles-based CoolHaus for exclusive dual-branded Foxtrot and CoolHaus ice cream sandwiches and novelty bars. The retailer even sells bundles of its own brand ice cream treats alongside a bottle of wine (private brand wine under the Kid Sister label).

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