The grocery startup is expanding in the Midwest, with its first store scheduled to open in Chicago in January. It plans to add seven or eight stores by the end of next year, including one in Minneapolis/St. Paul. The company is reportedly close to finalizing the deal for the first location.
Fresh Thyme eventually wants open eight to 10 stores in Minnesota. The area is attractive to the company because of a large number of potential customers considered health conscious and well-educated. The startup also plans stores in Milwaukee, Chicago, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Cincinnati and Detroit. The average store size between 26,000 and 28,000 square feet, with 25 to 30 percent of its store space devoted to fresh produce. Each store will have a full-service bakery and meat, dairy and vitamin departments along with a salad bar, olive bar and deli-style café.
Fresh Thyme launched about a year ago. It will provide a high level of service and will go after a customer seeking affordable products. A previous article in the Columbus, Ohio, Business Journal described the market as a cross between a Whole Foods and a traditional farmer's market.
"We're not really looking for Wal-Mart shopper or the Whole Foods shopper. We're really looking for that middle-America shopper," said founder Chris Sherrell told the Business Journal.