Thriving organic food market and café Erewhon, which operates five Southern California stores, with a sixth in the pipeline, could expand nationwide after a deal with New York-based growth equity firm Stripes Group, which now owns a substantial minority stake in the independent grocer, according to a published report.
To begin with, Forbes reported, the investment will go toward opening more stores south of Erewhon’s hometown of Los Angeles and establishing locations in Northern California for the first time. A rollout to New York City could be in the cards a few years from now.
“Erewhon can become a national brand and universally the most trusted in better-for-you food, period,” Stripes founder Ken Fox told Forbes. “Every metric you would measure this business on is an outlier in a few different industries: specialty restaurants, traditional retail and grocery. Any kind of four-wall experience you have, you would be hard-pressed to find store economics that look anything like Erewhon.”
Owned by Tony and Josephine Antoci since 2011, Erewhon was founded in Boston in 1966 and moved to L.A. in 1969. Since the couple took the helm, Tony heading operations and Josephine focusing on products, the company has experienced double-digit growth – more than 35% year-on-year since 2016, with recent same-store sales growth topping 15%, according to the article. During the Antocis’ tenure, they have considerably expanded the chain’s prepared food business, which currently accounts for more than 40 percent of Erewhon’s sales.