Fresh Thyme organic grocer opens its first market in Minnesota


Fresh Thyme Farmers Market is now in Minnesota.

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The organic grocery store, which pitches itself as "on a mission to improve the way our communities eat," opened a Bloomington location Wednesday, its first store in the state.

Fresh Thyme also has locations around Chicago, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Detroit and Cincinnati. The Star Tribune reports the company plans to add 10-12 stores in Minnesota in the coming years.

Fresh Thyme’s CEO Chris Sherrell said in a news release they're "excited" to be in Bloomington.

“Fresh Thyme is passionate about making ‘local’ a focus of each store,” he said. “We go to great lengths to source products and produce local to each store; our Bloomington location will stock products such as J.R. Watkins and Clean Smart. We love to support and work with local non-profits and we hold a job fair for each store opening.”

On Saturday, the Bloomington Fresh Thyme will have live music and animal sculptures to help celebrate its opening weekend, according to a press release.

What is Fresh Thyme?

Fresh Thyme was founded in Phoenix but is now headquartered in Chicago, the Indy Star wrote earlier this year.

The company in a press release calls itself a "full-service specialty retailer" that focuses on "value-priced fresh, healthy, natural and organic offerings."

The Indy Star described the business – which has been around for only three years – as "a small grocer in a big hurry," noting it's "determined to get its name out and gain a foothold in a competitive grocery landscape."

The Business Journal has reported Plymouth and St. Paul have been picked for future Minnesota stores. Another was announced earlier this month to anchor a 15-story mixed-use tower near the University of Minnesota, the Business Journal says.

Fresh Thyme says it plans to have 60 stores nationwide by 2019.

The crowded grocery market

Fresh Thyme's Twin Cities debut comes just a week after Hy-Vee debuted in the market – and after a year that's seen dramatic shifts in the state's grocery landscape.

Roundy’s Rainbow stores had historically been No. 2 in the Twin Cities behind Cub, but slipped to fourth as Target, Wal-Mart and other low-cost supercenters gained a foothold in 2014. Roundy’s announced it would be leaving the Twin Cities grocery scene.

Meanwhile discount stores such as Aldi continue to grow, aiming to snag customers looking for a new grocery store after Rainbow’s exit. Warehouse-style buying clubs such as Costco and Sam’s Club are also doing well.

In the high-end market, food co-ops and national chains such as Hy-Vee and Fresh Thyme Farmers Market have elbowed their way in, while established chains (Whole Foods and Trader Joes, for example) are expanding.

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