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Natural and organic grocery chain Fresh Thyme Farmers Market is planning to open a new distribution center to support its growth plans.
The 320,000-square-foot facility is expected to open by mid-August in the western Chicago suburb of Bolingbrook and employ about 100 people, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Bolingbrook is also home to two locations for Midwestern superstore chain Meijer, which is backing Fresh Thyme. While there’s no direct connection between the two, Meijer's major stake in the healthy-lifestyle chain is a natural extension of its studied journey toward continued retail enlightenment, as Hank Meijer explained in Progressive Grocer's Retailer of the Year profile story in October 2015.
“We are completely separate businesses, with completely separate operations. We see our role as part of an organic experiment to learn, but not to smother, to gain knowledge, but not to stifle creativity.”
Midwest growth anticipated
A year ago, Fresh Thyme moved its corporate headquarters from Phoenix to the Chicago suburb of Downers Grove. The retailer opened its first Chicago-area store in 2014 in Mount Prospect; it now has seven stores in Chicago suburbs with an eighth expected to open in October. Fresh Thyme operates 36 locations in Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Nebraska; a dozen more stores are expected by year’s end.
Fresh Thyme is exploring sites in downtown Chicago, the western suburbs and downstate Illinois, CEO Chris Sherrell told the Tribune.