A new player in the grocery world plans to stake its first claim in Mount Prospect later this year.
Fresh Thyme Farmers Market, a new company created by supermarket industry veterans reportedly with the backing of Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Meijer, plans to open its first store in the nation in the former Sports Authority location at 211 W. Rand Road.
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"We take a great deal of pride in building the right culture, building the right foundation to produce the success we believe we can in Mount Prospect," store director Bruce VanOverloop told Mount Prospect village board members this week. "We look at ourselves as the competitor with all of the players in the area, from Whole Foods to Fresh Market."
The Mount Prospect store is the first of 18 Fresh Thyme Farmers Markets the company plans to establish in Illinois, and one of 50 it wants to open in 12 Midwestern states over the next six years. Currently, the company has 21 signed leases, in areas such as Indianapolis and St. Louis, as well as the Chicago and its suburbs.
According to the company, the store will combine "the spirit of a weekend farmers market, and the convenience of a neighborhood store, with the nutritious offerings of a natural food marketplace." Its focus will be on fresh produce, though it also will sell hormone- and antibiotic-free meats, fresh seafood, bakery goods and other items, according to the company.
The store will be open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
VanOverloop said that there will be an opening for friends and family on April 21, a soft opening on April 22 and the grand opening April 23.
"We hope to be there and cut the ribbon with you," Mount Prospect Mayor Arlene Juracek said.
The store is in the process of hiring and plans to hold a job fair from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on March 1 and 8 at the Holiday Inn, 200 E. Rand Road.
On Tuesday, the Mount Prospect village board granted the store a class P-2 liquor license, which allows the retail sale of packaged liquors at a full-service grocery store of more than 10,000 square feet.