CHICAGO — Foxtrot Market is launching the inaugural Up and Comers Small Makers Awards, its first-ever initiative designed to find the next great brands in food, beverage, wellness, self-care and more.
According to the company, Up and Comers furthers Foxtrot's longstanding commitment to supporting local businesses by discovering the next best innovative and creative makers to bring to its communities.
To date, Chicago-based Foxtrot's stores have acted as an incubator for small and local businesses by giving them the chance to test products on their shelves. Building off this approach, Up and Comers aims to help small business owners gain exposure for their product and provide them an opportunity for new business in a time where they may have trouble with distribution and getting off of the ground.
"Since Foxtrot's inception, we've believed in filling our shelves with best-in-class products that we know our guests will love, many of which are from small businesses that have grown to be the heart of our stores," said Mike LaVitola, CEO and co-founder of Foxtrot. "We are incredibly humbled and excited to now extend that opportunity to other brands across the country, and to increase our commitment to supporting small, local businesses with an emphasis on diversity of these makers. Through the awards program, our hope is that small business owners will gain the tools they need to take their operations to the next level, while also giving our customers new brands to discover."
Today through Jan. 10, business owners and makers can apply to the Up and Comers Small Makers Awards for a chance to be sold in Foxtrot's stores. Judging will take place throughout January and winners announced in mid-February. Altogether, winners will receive $100,000 in marketing support and cash rewards, and real estate on Foxtrot's shelves for a minimum of three months.
Judges will also select one overall Hero Winner, as well as winners in the Ingredient Innovation, Best Branding/Packaging and Just Damn Good categories. Fan Favorites will also be determined for products from the Chicago, Dallas and Washington, D.C., markets, which will be awarded to the local businesses that receive the most public votes on foxtrotco.com/upandcomers.
The Hero Winner, category winners and Fan Favorites of the Up and Comers Small Makers Awards will have their product carried in Foxtrot's brick-and-mortar and online stores and will receive marketing support starting at $8,000. Category winners will also receive a monetary reward of $5,000 to put into growing their business. The overall Hero Winner will receive the top prize of $25,000, mentorship by three of the program's esteemed judges, and the opportunity to pitch their brand to Imaginary, the Venture Capital Fund that, in addition to Foxtrot, has invested in the future of such companies as Daily Harvest, Glossier and HUM Nutrition, among others.
Based in Chicago, Foxtrot redefines convenience for the modern consumer, marrying the best of neighborhood retail and e-commerce technology to create a community of discovery. It currently operates eight stores in Chicago, Illinois and two in Dallas, with two locations coming to Washington, D.C., next spring.