Look out, Wawa — another specialty convenience store is coming to D.C.

This time, the newcomer is Chicago-based company Foxtrot, which bills itself as a curated market and café that offers cravings like Jeni’s ice cream and bottles of pinot noir, and can deliver groceries to customers’ doorsteps in under an hour. Foxtrot announced this week that two locations will open in D.C. by March 2021, one in Georgetown and another near Mt. Vernon Square.

The Georgetown location is slated to open in the former Jonathan Adler space on Wisconsin Avenue NW, with a seating capacity of 60 people, according to PoPville. The other location will be at 650 Massachusetts Avenue NW. A company spokesperson says the D.C. menu will mirror the ones in the Chicago and Dallas stores, carrying wine, beer, coffee, grab-and-go meals, and pantry items. Unlike its other stores, which carry liquor and cocktail ingredients, D.C.’s outposts won’t offer spirits.

The company, which launched in 2013 as a beverage delivery app, now has eight locations in Chicago and two in Dallas. As part of its D.C. debut, the company is hosting a competition for small local businesses, where the winner will receive funding, mentorship from business leaders, and a spot on Foxtrot’s shelves to sell their product.

The competition, called the Up and Comers Small Makers Awards, is Foxtrot’s effort to discover and support great local brands in food, beverage, wellness, and self-care; products from small businesses in Dallas and Chicago already make up 10% of the company’s current inventory. “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,” said Foxtrot CEO and co-founder Mike LaVitola in a press release.

The competition includes categories like best branding and packaging, ingredient innovation, and “just damn good.” One grand-prize winner will receive $25,000, a spot on Foxtrot shelves for a minimum of three months, a mentorship opportunity with three of the judges, marketing support, and a chance to pitch their idea to venture capital fund Imaginary.

Additionally, one business will be selected as the “best of D.C.” and win marketing support worth $8,000 and a spot on the Foxtrot shelves. The competition is open for submissions through Jan. 10, and winners will be announced in mid-February.

Erik Bruner-Yang, the chef behind H Street hot spot Maketto, and Al Goldberg, founder of Mess Hall, are representing the District on the panel of judges. The panel includes Top Chef judge Nilou Motamed and Jeni Britton Bauer, of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, among others.

“It’s not easy getting a small business off the ground, especially amidst all of the challenges this year, but this competition is really well-timed in that it presents some great opportunities for fledgling companies,” Goldberg told DCist in a statement. “I always get excited and inspired when I’m surrounded by fellow entrepreneurs so I’m extremely eager to see what the applicants will submit. Knowing the caliber of the D.C. landscape, I’m confident our hometown makers will fare well.”



As published on dcist – Elliott Williams – December 10