Alumni in Motion: Mike LaVitola (2005), CEO of Foxtrot


Mia Johnson

Alumni in Motion: Mike LaVitola (2005)This week’s Alumni in Motion column features Mr. Mike LaVitola. From a family of six boys, Mike is the oldest sibling in the family clan of LaVitola brothers. Mike has five brothers: Matt, Jay, Domenic, Adam, and Max, who all graduated–or will graduate this year–from Lake Forest High School. While Mike was a Scout, he was a member on the soccer, track, and basketball teams at LFHS. A favorite class of Mike’s while in high school was Spanish with Mrs. Westrich. After his four years at the high school, Mike graduated in 2005 and headed to study business at the University of Illinois. There, he was involved in Greek life as a member of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity and the Finance Academy, which provided him with an honors program that helped him at the business school. After graduating in 2009, he started his first job as an investment banker with KPMG. While at KPMG, he worked on finance for big infrastructure projects, like roads, bridges, and sports stadiums.  

Currently, Mike is running Foxtrot, the up-and-coming corner store, stocking the best craft beer, wine, snacks, groceries, and gifts in Chicago. They have two retail locations in the city, with two more opening in December. Most of their customers are through the Foxtrot app, which delivers everything in under 60 minutes. Foxtrot has been featured on CNN, Thrillist, Michigan Avenue, and in Chicago magazine. Foxtrot gives you the best of what you need, when you need it. It’s all about being convenient and being a helping hand for the customers.

I got in touch with co-founder and CEO of Foxtrot and had him answer some questions about giving advice to future entrepreneurs.

How long did it take to start Foxtrot?

“’I’ve been working on Foxtrot for over 4 years now… crazy!”

Are you planning on opening Foxtrot in other cities? What’s the next step for Foxtrot?

“We are excited to open our two new Chicago locations this year, and then hope to have Foxtrot in many more cities soon.”

Did you ever think you would be running your own business when you were in high school?

“No!  But it’s been fun.  I started out in finance, which is where I thought I’d end up, but business school brought a great opportunity to start a business, so I took full advantage.”

Any advice to give to someone that wants to start their own business?

Get ready to work!  The hardest part is just getting started and committing yourself, so find out the best way to get your first customers, and then listen to them closely for feedback.”

What advice would you give to a high school student?

“Take advantage of all the freedom school (high school and college) offers to explore all your diverse interests.  Once you start your career, time to explore these things tends to get smaller and smaller, so make sure to take full advantage of all the opportunities available to you now!”

Mike LaVitola is someone for everyone to look up to, but especially a high schools student who is intent on pursuing business or entrepreneurship in their future. Starting in finance after graduating with a business degree, Mike found the passion and work ethic to make his own way running his own business. It certainly is not easy being an entrepreneur, starting with an idea and working to develop your plan into continued success. Now that is inspiring. He wished for something to be existent and made it possible. Hosted by Foxtrot, snacks and beverages for your next gathering will be at your door in under 60 minutes. Be sure to give Foxtrot a call.