While studying business at the University of Chicago, Mike LaVitola noticed a surge in ondemand delivery services for restaurants, but none for the products he needed daily. So he put his investment banking and private-equity acumen to work.
“No one was doing on-demand services for the c-store industry,” he says. “So I thought it’d be interesting to put a modern c-store in consumers’ phones.” Four years later, LaVitola became co-founder and CEO of Foxtrot, which has three locations in Chicago.
Foxtrot offers c-store staples such as toiletries, coffee and snacks, but it also has high-end products such as Half Acre craft beer and Talenti gelato. The store even offers gifts such as scented candles, picture books and novels. And more: Foxtrot delivers all its products within an hour, guaranteed. LaVitola says the delivery service combined with the unique product mix is Foxtrot’s point of parity.
“We try to find products that are local and interesting,” he says. “We spend a lot of time figuring out what customers want and finding the best versions of those through our online program, which tracks what people buy.”
LaVitola says Foxtrot’s retail format has drastically changed since its inception. Upon walking into one of its locations, consumers are welcomed by a sizable coffee bar with tons of seating and lounge areas in the back.
Foxtrot will spend the next few months planning its next market outside of Chicago. LaVitola’s goal for the chain? “Get a hell of a lot bigger.”
Chicago's city dwellers call on Foxtrot for food, beverages, gifts and more with the tap of an app.
Photograph courtesy of Foxtrot