Corner Shops are the Haute New Thing

In New York, they’re bodegas. À Montréal, dépanneurs. In Berlin, spätis. One thing they’re definitely not known for is being high-end. But that might not be true for long.

Foxtrot, an upscale re-imagination of the convenience store, has nabbed a $42 million Series B from a gaggle of culinary gods – Momofuko founder David Chang, Blue Hill at Stone Barns co-owner David Barber, and Sweetgreen co-founder Nicolas Jammet.

The company, which bills itself as a “better kind of convenience” store, puts local artisan products next to cans of White Claw. So your Snickers bar might be gentrified off the block.

Trending in Chicago, Dallas, and soon D.C.

Foxtrot has ten stores up and running in Chicago and Dallas, with plans to open nine more in 2021. Washington, D.C. will get its first location on March 1st, and Austin and Houston are being eyed as future fancy outposts.

On top of brick-and-mortar shopping, Foxtrot stores offer guaranteed one-hour delivery of food, organic wine, hard seltzer, and locally made ice cream. They also stock hip local wares: in Chicago, for instance, that means coffee from industrial chic roasters Metric, old-fashioned doughnuts from Do-Rite’s, and IPAs from Pipeworks Brewing.

Last year, store sales grew 55% and e-commerce more than 200% for all the obvious reasons.

Moneyball for Fancy 7/11s: Foxtrot, which hopes to be part morning coffee stop and part late-night hangout, has had the benefit of real estate availability in the wake of the pandemic (an estimated 110,000 restaurants have closed over the last year):

CEO Mike LaVitola said, “We’re seeing leases around 30% lower, and there’s most flexibility in making percentage rent.”

the takeaway

No word yet on whether they’ll bring in purebred Bengal and Russian Blues to act as high-end bodega cats.

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