by Nancy Stiles
Fresh Thyme Famers' Market announced last week that it's coming to Ballwin and Kirkwood in 2015, in addition to the already in-progress Fairview Heights store. It's part of a major expansion plan to bring the farmers' market-style stores to the Midwest.
"St. Louis doesn't have this concept. It offers a convenient shopping experience at great value and great prices," CEO Chris Sherrell tells Gut Check. "We're really looking to become the stepping stone to a healthier lifestyle."
The focus of the store is fresh produce (local when possible) and natural, organic foods. Think Whole Foods, but without the prices and hipster intimidation. We do have a similar concept, though -- the recently opened Fields Foods in Lafayette Square. Sherrell says the objective, though, is to appeal to the traditional shopper who might not venture into Fields or even Trader Joe's.
"We created a welcoming format: low profile, great customer service," he says. "The biggest thing is, we're going to offer a new type of service -- fresh, natural organics and produce."
Fresh Thyme's stock will be about 25 percent fresh produce and 15 percent fresh meats; Sherrell says it will be a full-service grocery with a bakery, cheese, seafood, frozen food and more.
"Local is a big part of what we do. Naturally, there's a weather component [in the Midwest] that we're not used to, so we're going to take advantage of every local option we can," Sherrell says. There's a seasonality component we'll have to work around from a non-fresh standpoint."
The Fairview Heights location will open sometime in the next few months, but the suburbs will have to wait a bit longer for the other two. The Kirkwood location will be at 10798 Manchester Road, but the Ballwin address hasn't been announced yet.