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10/05/2021

Foxtrot Looks to Shake Up the Convenience Channel With Private Brands

The retailer's strategy includes branded indulgent items and snacks, as well as a national online gift box service.

CHICAGO — Foxtrot is aiming to "redefine convenience for a modern consumer" through its regional chain of bouquet market and offers such as a national online gift box service with curated craft items including its private brand products.

To achieve a store brand approach, Foxtrot recently hired Mitch Madoff as senior vice president of private label. Madoff is the former vice president of exclusive brands at Whole Foods Market and will lead Foxtrot's private label and supply chain.

Madoff discussed with Store Brands, sister publication to Convenience Store News, his strategy for Foxtrot's private label program as the company builds from its $42 million funding round in February and begins to quadruple its store count.

"It's been an exciting and busy first few months," said Madoff. "I'm happy to be part of a company that's rapidly growing and expanding. We're agile and nimble across all departments, and it's been rewarding to oversee the private label division as both a developer and leader during this time of growth."

Leaning into desserts, a go-to among the convenience store set, Foxtrot's namesake brand includes six original flavors of ice cream: Roasted Banana & Caramel, Extreme Cookie Dough Sprinkle, Chocolate Hazelnut Chunk, Big Riff Coffee, Mint Sprinkle Brownie, and Strawberry Cheesecake Crumble.

According to Madoff, the ice cream flavors have been very successful and the company is continuing to look to collaborate with local chefs and small producers and suppliers to bring new offerings into its private brand mix. For example, Foxtrot teamed up with Los Angeles-based CoolHaus for exclusive dual-branded Foxtrot and CoolHaus ice cream sandwiches and novelty bars, Dolcezza Gelato in Washington, D.C., and Pretty Cool Ice Cream in Chicago. For coffee, Foxtrot partnered with Metric in Chicago for its own whole bean blend.

"Expanding into ice cream has given us credibility to explore other novelties and frozen treats," said Madoff. "Above all, we love food and we always approach private label with the goal of uncovering and creating delicious, high-quality items we know our customers will enjoy."

Other Foxtrot brand indulgent treats include scratch-made brownies, gummy candies, chocolate mixes, cookies, and cream pies.

The breadth of private brand products extends into snacks too, with modern and slick-looking packaged chips in flavors like Spicy Dill Pickle, Back Porch BBQ and Sea Salt. The company also has a line of granola.

"Our customers are curious and open to new trends and flavor profiles," he said, describing the assortment as taking customers along a food journey that’s nostalgic and aimed to help them uncover new trends. "We develop products that are craveable and delicious. Our goal is to create an experience that they didn’t even realize they were missing before."

In reference to the company's growth plans, Madoff told Store Brands that scale is the key. "Scale will make things easier. The larger we get, the faster we'll be able to move and we'll continue to streamline our supply chain," he told the news outlet. "Growth supports exactly what we're trying to achieve, allowing our suppliers and the up-and-coming brands we work with to grow with us as well. A lot of our partners have taken a leap of faith to work with us and they continue to grow and develop alongside us."

Foxtrot's latest venture is its Foxtrot Anywhere nationwide shipping program. The service is framed as curated gift boxes with a mix of its top-selling products and items that fit certain themes such as a Pasta Night box. The program gets the Foxtrot products out to consumers nationwide as it continues to grow into new markets, according to Madoff.

Additionally, the company has been evolving its culinary program that inspires its grab-and-go food items that are a core of the store. It recently hired Tae Strain as corporate executive chef.

"We'll continue to introduce new items and new collaborations across our current categories throughout the year, and you can expect some exciting new items and partnerships tied to the holiday season," Madoff said. "We're also expanding our private label brands outside of food. We will have more to come on that soon."

Chicago-based Foxtrot was founded in 2014. The operator of 13 convenience stores is looking to add a total of 50 locations over the next two years.

Convenience Store News and Store Brands are properties of EnsembleIQ.