Chicago based grocers Foxtrot and Dom’s Kitchen & Market abruptly closed their doors on Tuesday, April 23rd, shocking employees and customers alike. Dom’s Kitchen & Market released a statement on Tuesday morning, stating that despite “exhaustive efforts,” the entity could not find a viable way to continue operations. Affecting two Chicago based Dom’s stores and 33 Foxtrot’s locations across Chicago, Austin, Dallas, and DC.

This abrupt closure occurred only six months after the two grocers joined together, forming Outfox Hospitality group. An interview between former Outfox CEO, Liz Williams, and The Chicago Sun Times described Outfox's mission to combine the conveniences of a market with the restaurant experience. Their overall goal was to “modernize the way people shop," Williams said.

Snaxshot reported via a Substack article that Outfox has since filed for Chapter Seven bankruptcy. However, it is yet to become finalized. A closure sign, posted in the window of Foxtrot located on Armitage Ave. reads, “$180,000,000 in the hole (not a joke)."

The closure not only shocked customers, but employees were also left in the dark. 

Former Dom’s employee and current DePaul student, Isaac Niccum worked in the Charcuterie Department for eight months before being unexpectedly laid off. Niccum first heard whispers of Outfox’s bankruptcy the night before the closure. “We were in disbelief,” Niccum says, “but we all knew what was going on, not from a team captain or a manager, but from word of mouth.” 

Niccum, along with his coworkers showed up to Dom’s the morning of April 23rd, not knowing what to expect. They were met with locked doors and despondent customers who were equally as confused as they were.  

After waving down a fellow employee, Niccum and his coworkers were ushered inside and told they could take whatever they wanted. For Niccum, the money he made at Dom’s was “his food money.” He reportedly thought to himself, "What can I take here so I don't starve?” Niccum left the store with six bags of groceries and a key lime pie.

Through Niccum's interview it is evident that he had a tight bond with his coworkers in the charcuterie department. “A lot of us were crying because we’d no longer be working together," Niccum explains.

Fellow DePaul student and former Dom’s employee, Colin Sandee shares a similar story. Reporting that he first heard rumors of Outfox’s bankruptcy through the grapevine. “I vividly remember my roommate turning to me and saying, ‘dude, I think you just lost your job,’” Sandee says.

On April 23rd, the morning of the closure, Sandee received a text message from his team lead, confirming that all Dom’s and Foxtrot locations were set to close later that day. So, Sandee only had three hours of official notice before losing his job. Sandee expresses his frustration with this, as the meeting his team lead attended was described as brief and ended before employees could ask follow up questions.

Sandee appreciated how flexible Dom’s was with accommodating to his busy schedule, especially with DePaul’s quick quarterly schedule. “I remember telling myself, this could potentially be my last part time job before I move on to something bigger after college,” Sandee says.

Both Niccum and Sandee express frustration with the way Outfox handled their store closures and subsequent layoffs. They sympathize with their coworkers, whose livelihoods were stripped away from them seemingly overnight.