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updated: 12/18/2017 12:45 PM

Fresh Thyme grocer plans to expand

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  • Daily Herald File photo, 2015Fresh Thyme Farmers Market, which has a store in Naperville, plans to expand in 2018.

    Daily Herald File photo, 2015Fresh Thyme Farmers Market, which has a store in Naperville, plans to expand in 2018.

 
Daily Herald Report

Fresh Thyme Farmers Market, a full-service specialty grocer growing based in Downers Grove, Monday said it has expansion plans for 2018.

Since opening its first store, Fresh Thyme has expanded across nine states including Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa and Ohio. Expansion will continue in 2018 with 10 scheduled openings including the brand's first stores in Pennsylvania. Other stores are planned for Evansville, Indiana; Ames, Iowa and other locations.

Established in 2014, Fresh Thyme operates 66 stores throughout the Midwest. In 2017, the company opened 20 new stores and hired more than 2,000 workers.

"From acquisitions and mergers to shifting consumer habits, 2017 was marked by significant changes, and the grocery and food retail industries continue to be ever-evolving," said CEO Chris Sherrell. "We enjoy the challenge this brings and work hard to continuously improve our shopping experience. As a three-years-young company, we're extremely proud of our 5,000 employees and the communities we serve throughout the Midwest."

In 2017, Fresh Thyme made significant hires to expand its leadership team based in Downers Grove. In March, Carol Okamoto joined as chief financial officer and, in May, Mark Doiron was brought on as chief merchandising officer. Both bring more than 30 years of experience in the industry to their roles. In November, Fresh Thyme also welcomed Dean Little as chief operations officer. He brings more than 40 years of industry experience to his role, where he will oversee what makes Fresh Thyme Farmers Market a "market." In addition, Fresh Thyme also made key hires in their marketing department including Amy Parker as vice president and Art Scott as senior director.

Fresh Thyme added Kerry Clifford and Meghan Sedivy as their in-house registered dietitians to increase awareness of the brand in key markets as the two developed ongoing programming to educate and bring the healthy lifestyle that Fresh Thyme stands for to their customers.

Since introducing its private label in 2015, Fresh Thyme Farmers Market has introduced more than 1,000 skus (up from 400 in 2016), which make nutritious foods more affordable, and allow the brand to control both the quality and price of its offerings. Fresh Thyme continues to unveil new products each season and upcoming releases include a line of Greek yogurt, kombucha, soups, mashed cauliflower, and, as always, a continuing line of organic items. They will also unveil a line of natural cleaners to take the harmful ingredients out of the home.

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