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05/06/2021

Foxtrot hires former Whole Foods exclusive brand leader to run private brands

Mitch Madoff joins the upscale corner store retailer after 20 years with Whole Foods. The retailer also appointed Tae Strain of Momofuku to craft private brand offerings.
Dan Ochwat
Executive Editor
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Regional premium convenience retailer Foxtrot has hired a seasoned private label vet to lead its private brand and prepared foods expansion.

Mitch Madoff, formerly vice president of exclusive brands at Whole Foods Market, has joined Foxtrot as senior vice president of private label and supply chain. Foxtrot also has added a well-known corporate executive chef, Tae Strain, who joins from Momofuku and will work on Foxtrot's store brand packaged food items and to-go meals. 

The Chicago-based retailer raised $42 million from a February funding round as it looked to expand the business and its private brand reach. The funding was led by David Barber’s Almanac Insights and Monogram Capital Partners. Other well-known backers of Foxtrot Market include Momofuku co-founder David Chang, sweetgreen co-founder Nicolas Jammet and Whole Foods CEO Walter Robb.

a man standing next to a bottle of wine in front of a store
Mitch Madoff and Tae Strain

"Our private label represents the core of what we love at Foxtrot - finding and developing the most delicious products from all corners of the culinary universe, and delivering them right to our customers' doors," said Mike LaVitola, CEO and co-founder of Foxtrot. "We're thrilled to welcome Mitch and Chef Tae, who together bring world class culinary talent and passion to our version of convenience. We are excited to set a new standard for what customers can expect out of their local market."

Madoff previously spent the last two decades working at Whole Foods managing the retailer’s exclusive brands. He’s a longtime food industry veteran and a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. Foxtrot said he brings a foodie eye to its store brands division, adding that the private brand items range from colorful gummy snack mixes to an adult version of an oatmeal cream pie made with bourbon. This summer Madoff’s first mark will be a line of own brand ice creams.

"I've been in the business of private label for a long time, and the way Foxtrot approaches their product creation is unlike any other brand out there," Madoff said. "It's the mindset and passion for bringing joy to the customer through the product experience that will make them a leader in the retail and convenience space. I'm thrilled to be joining such an innovative and forward-thinking team."

Tae most recently worked at Chang’s Momofuku CCDC in Washington, D.C., where he led a full menu rebrand. He also has worked at The Progress restaurant in San Francisco, where he served as Chef De Cuisine when the restaurant was awarded its first Michelin Star. He will lead the recipe development of private label items and the breakfast, lunch and dinner prepared food options.

"What drew me to Foxtrot was their sense of integrity and ambition," said Strain. "They have this incredible energy, and are truly dedicated to creating a unique experience for their guests beyond the status quo of the convenience model. It's rare to see groups in this sector be so invested in evolving their culinary program. I have the utmost respect for the team, and am grateful to bring a new perspective as we define what our food can be."

Foxtrot launched in 2014 with an eye on upscaling the corner store with app-based purchasing delivery in under an hour. The company operates 12 stores across Chicago, Dallas and Washington, D.C. with plans to open nine more locations by the end of 2021.