Last Monday, Foxtrot Market officially opened its doors in Georgetown. In addition to being a coffee shop, Foxtrot is also an upscale grocery store and café with delivery guaranteed in 60 minutes or less. I visited the café to experience what Foxtrot had in store for customers.
As I looked around, my eyes were drawn to the ambience surrounding the register. To my right stood a shelf with wine bottles for purchase. If you need any background on the wine, you can simply scan the barcode and it will direct you to a TikTok video of an employee explaining everything you need to know. To the left were baskets for customers to use when purchasing high-quality artisanal groceries, such as chef-prepared salads.
Before ordering, I spoke to Mike LaVitola, Foxtrot’s co-founder and CEO. LaVitola walked me over to meet one of the baristas, who made me a smoothie. It was the perfect blend of berries and steel-cut oats that I could not help but finish in minutes. LaVitola then gave me a tour of the vibrant, artsy shop filled with bright decorations that lit the place up.
I spoke to LaVitola more in-depth about partnering with Vigilante for their coffee, pivoting from being a virtual business to a brick-and-mortar shop amid Covid-19 and why Georgetown was the right fit for this new spot.
District Fray: How has Covid impacted your business?
Mike LaVitola: We actually started as an online business, so there was no retail and everything was delivered in under an hour. We got into retail a couple years ago, so when Covid-19 hit, the online side of the business went nuts. We saw a pretty big pick up in retail traffic as well, which I think is [from] people wanting to spend more time in little shops versus supermarkets. We take a lot of pride and have highly local items here. We have bread from Pluma and the coffee is from Vigilante. The percent of sales that shifted toward local makers was really significant, which was nice to see our customers really leaning in and supporting those highly local brands.
How do you plan on delivering while following Covid procedures?
Most of our customers are going to find it a bit safer actually, because we can do contactless deliveries and have options on the Foxtrot app for them to choose how they’d like their items to be delivered.
Where do you get coffee beans imported from?
Vigilante. That was actually a really big part of scouting the city. We spent a lot of time picking the retail location, but starting off with a really strong local roaster partnership was a building block before we entered [the] city. We fell in love with them about a year-and-a-half ago and have been working really close[ly] with them ever since. We worked on getting our own blend with them and a lot of the barista training, so they’re deeply involved in the opening as well.
I know you were previously in finance, so what made you transition to coffee?
Well, I love coffee. And if you’re going to work really hard, you should probably do it [for] something you love. We went to Chicago to find who we thought was the best local roaster, struck up a partnership deal with them and put their baristas in the store. It became really obvious coffee was going to be a central part of what we were doing.
How do you take your coffee, or what’s your favorite kind?
I’m so lame. I like to get a black Americano. I like nothing in it because the beans are so delicious.
What’s your favorite item from the menu?
I love our breakfast tacos. They’re our number one selling thing and I love, love, love them.
How did you come up with the name for the shop?
I didn’t know what it was going to be, and I didn’t want a name that was going to pigeonhole us too much. There were probably hundreds of names and someone said, “Foxtrot.” I really liked it because at the time, we were just a delivery service, and a fox is a really swift-moving [animal]. We’ve been going with it ever since.
Foxtrot has shops in Chicago and Dallas. What made you pick Georgetown as an additional location?
We’ve been looking at locations here for two-and-a-half years. We fell in love with Georgetown – the local residents, the university. It’s clearly quite a gathering place for locals and tourists alike, so it really felt like the right place to launch the brand and introduce ourselves to people in D.C. And also, we fell in love with this corner. As soon as I stepped in here, it felt right.
What type of experience do you want your customers to have?
We want it to be a moment [of] joy for our customers and their day. Customers can come in to grab a smoothie or grab a bottle of wine after a long day. It should be this uplifting part of a customer’s day.
Foxtrot Market’s Georgetown location is open Sunday through Thursday from 7 a.m. – 11 p.m. and Friday through Saturday from 7 a.m. – midnight. Orders for the Foxtrot Market can be placed here. Follow on Instagram @foxtrotmarket.
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