Foxtail Coffee doubles HQ warehouse space, pursues diverse local growth plan

Orlando-based Foxtail Coffee Co. has more than doubled its warehouse space in recent weeks to prepare for retail expansion in 2018, and will keep diversifying its footprint with two very different new store openings by year's end. 

Foxtail recently signed a five-year lease to expand its storage and roasting facility at Kennedy Commerce Center in Orlando at 995 W. Kennedy Blvd., a deal negotiated by Hold-Thyssen, Inc

The company, which imports and processes South American and East African coffees, was already leasing 5,957 square feet at the commerce center, but the new lease expands the operation into another 7,928 square feet. 

"Part of our larger plan is to continue to produce high-end craft coffee locally, and as we expand our retail locations and sales side naturally our headquarters had to expand as well," majority shareholder and local entrepreneur Alex Tchekmeian told GrowthSpotter. "This space will be used for additional roasting, cold brew production and retail storage." 

Foxtail has established a strong following through its first two retail locations in less than a year, located at 1282 N. Orange Ave. in Winter Park, and a small coffee bar inside the Dovecote restaurant in Downtown Orlando's Bank of America office tower.

But where it may plant its next flag has been a repeated topic of market speculation in recent months. 

Foxtail's third retail opening will be in Altamonte Springs at the intersection of S.R. 434 and S.R. 436, scheduled to open in late November or early December, Tchekmeian said. 

It will be the company's first free-standing location with a drive-thru, with 2,400 square feet leased in a renovated outparcel property. 

The fourth location will be Foxtail's Farmhouse, set for 1,750 square feet next door to its current Winter Park storefront on N. Orange Avenue.

The Farmhouse is planned as a "high-end espresso and wine bar" with a larger food offering than Foxtail has sold to date, to include paninis, charcuterie and cheese boards. That site is under interior construction now with a targeted opening by year's end, Tchekmeian said. 

Beyond those, another six or more new Foxtail sites are in varied stages of development and due diligence.

They include a signed lease for the former Mama B's Giant Subs property at 1101 S. Orange Ave. in Downtown Orlando's SoDo District, which is in pre-construction design phase pending discussions with city planners, Tchekmeian said.

"SoDo is a property that will take quite a bit of time to redevelop to fit our specifications," he said. "We still don't have a clear understanding of if we'll demo and rebuild, or repurpose the current shell." 

Another signed lease is in Downtown Orlando's nascent Hourglass District, which covers 4.5 acres along Curry Ford Road between Conway Road and Bumby Avenue. Tchekmeian said a Foxtail opening there won't occur until "some time in 2018," because they're contractually tied to wait until the entire district of new retailers is ready to open. 

Aside from the expected favor for high traffic counts and average household incomes, Tchekmeian's site selection criteria for new Foxtail locations will be kept obscure and flexible for the foreseeable future. The brand's first three locations will all be used to test very different store types and sizes. 

"As we grow that criteria will narrow," he said. "What we are heavily focused on is the local market of Central Florida, and anywhere we believe would be of interest for craft coffee drinkers." 

All of Foxtail's growth thus far has been self-financed by Tchekmeian and two other partners. But with the carefully planned expansion lined up for the next 12 months a new business loan will be considered, he said. 

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at bmoser@growthspotter.com, (407) 420-5685 or @bobmoser333. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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