Fresh Thyme grocery chain opens on south side

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – A new grocery chain, Fresh Thyme Farmers Market, has launched in the Midwest. The small-scale, specialty grocery store has chosen to open its second location in the country in a development on US 31, on the border of Indianapolis and Greenwood.

“We’ve been working on this store for 18 months,” says Fresh Thyme President and CEO, Chris Sherrell. “We know that Indiana is going to be a big state for us and this site just came through first.”

Sherrell says leases have been signed for five Fresh Thyme locations in Indiana and another three leases are pending. In total, six stores will be open in the Indianapolis area within 24 months.

Fresh Thyme is based in the “farmers market” grocery store concept, which features low-profile aisles and a produce section that dominates 25 percent of square footage in the store. Sherrell says between 45 and 50 percent of total sales are in fresh items – like produce and meats.

“We want to focus on what the conventional stores don’t and that’s ‘fresh,’” says Sherrell. “Their center store is Coke, Pepsi, Doritos — we don’t sell any of that.”

Until now, residents on the south side had to travel north to find the same specialty, organic foods now available at Fresh Thyme.

“We’ve gone up to the north side to Trader Joe’s and we’ve just been waiting for a place like this for quite a while,” says Darla Armbruster. “Now I’m just checking out prices and comparing.”

Fresh Thyme sports a similar retail concept to growing grocery chain Sprouts, which has 170 stores in the Southwest. Two years ago, Sprouts purchased more than 40 Sunflower Farmers Market stores –which Sherrell ran as President and CEO from 2003 to 2012. After the acquisition, Sherrell and a team of colleagues launched Fresh Thyme – a new grocery chain built on the same model, but now focused on expansion in the Midwest.

Fresh Thyme also has a weekly promotion every Thursday called “Double Ad Days.” Its the one day a week where shoppers can take advantage of the past week’s promotional pricing on food items as well as the upcoming week’s promotional pricing. It allows shoppers to get twice the amount of food items at a discount.

The first Fresh Thyme location launched last month in Mount Prospect, Ill., a suburb of Chicago. In total, more than 70 stores will open throughout the region within a few years.

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