- Fresh Thyme Market is expanding its local assortment in a new partnership with Naturally Chicago’s Locally Made Retail Access Program, according to a Wednesday announcement.
- Through the tie-up, the specialty grocer will foster relationships with natural product businesses, creating jobs and bringing more healthy, sustainable and local food to its customers.
- The partnership comes at a time when specialty grocery chains continue to focus on introducing local products as part of their curated offerings.
Fresh Thyme’s collaboration with Naturally Chicago builds on its local products portfolio, which currently includes more than 6,000 goods chainwide.
The grocer aims to collaborate with local suppliers in addition to stocking more of their products, Jonathan Lawrence, Fresh Thyme’s vice president of merchandising as well as a Naturally Chicago board member, said in the announcement.
Naturally Chicago selected Fresh Thyme as its first grocery partner for the program because the grocer’s mission to supply shoppers with sustainable, better-for-you brands “aligns seamlessly” with their mission, Naturally Chicago co-founder and Managing Director Jim Slama said in a statement.
Naturally Chicago announced the Locally Made Retail Access Program in May 2023 at its annual Pitch Slam and Financing & Innovation Forum, where Lawrence announced the program’s launch alongside other Naturally Chicago board members as well as fellow food retailers and suppliers.
Dom’s Kitchen & Market as well as Go Grocer also signed up for the program when it was announced.
Local products continue to be a focal point for specialty grocers. Sprouts Farmers Market’s new smaller format store models feature its revamped New for You section that showcases local products unique to the store location’s community beside new goods from established vendor partners.