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    Fresh Thyme Relocating HQ to Chicago Suburb

    Natural/organic grocery chain moving from Phoenix to new Midwestern core

    The Chicago-area market is turning out to be so important to one grocery chain that it's relocating its corporate headquarters there.

    Fresh Thyme Farmers Market, which opened its first Chicago-area store last year in the city's northwest suburbs, is moving its corporate HQ from Phoenix to Downers Grove, west of the city, the grocer announced this week. The move allows the grocer, which emphasizes produce, fresh food and organic products, to stay close to its growing Midwestern core, where it expects to open 100 stores over the next six years.

    "We’ll have all entities of the business under one roof, from the buying teams to the accounting and legal functions of the company," said Colein Whicher, Fresh Thyme's director of marketing. The new support office is scheduled to open in April at the Corridors III office park on Warrenville Road in Downers Grove. "We’ll be expanding our support office team substantially and will bring many management-level job opportunities to the area."

    The company is planning 18 new stores in the Chicago area, including the latest: a store in the city, on Elston Avenue between the Bucktown and Lincoln Park neighborhoods; and a location in a former's Dominick's supermarket in the far north suburb of Crystal Lake, Crain's reported.

    Leadership team expands

    Meanwhile, Fresh Thyme has announced several promotions and additions on its leadership team:

    - Sage Horner has been promoted to chief operating officer from SVP of merchandising and marketing. Horner is a veteran of Sunflower Farmers Market, Albertsons and Supervalu. He is succeeded in his former post by new hire Mike Krage, who also served at Sunflower as well as Winn-Dixie and Associated Grocers of Seattle.

    - Steve Shoemaker joins Fresh Thyme as chief financial officer, Shoemaker comes to the grocer from Preferred Hotel Group; he has also held posts with SIRVA, Petsmart, Disney, McDonald's and Amoco.

    - Fran Windsor has been promoted to SVP of legal. Windsor brings 25 years of experience that includes serving as general counsel for Sunflower.

    Fresh Thyme is backed by Michigan-based superstore retailer Meijer. Its first Chicago-area store, opened in April 2014 in the suburb of Mount Prospect, was a Progressive Grocer Store of the Month.




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