- Fresh Thyme Market plans to open a new concept store in the historic Foundry area of St. Louis, Missouri, according to a company news release.
- The specialty grocer plans to stock 1,000 local products in the store, including numerous "hyperlocal" items sourced from the St. Louis region. The store will also feature a broad assortment of Meijer brand items.
- Fresh Thyme joins the ranks of grocers rolling out concept stores to test out new products and services.
Fresh Thyme’s news release didn’t go into much detail about its new concept store. It’s unclear when the store will open, how big it will be or the number of products it will carry. A company spokesperson was unable to provide additional information before press time.
What is clear, however, is that “hyperlocal” products sourced from the St. Louis region will at least partially distinguish the store.
“This new initiative within the St. Louis Foundry community champions the idea of deepening the community roots for both the retailer and the customer,” Fresh Thyme noted in its announcement.
Fresh Thyme, like other grocers, has for years capitalized on high demand for local products. But the term isn’t regulated, and the distinction of “hyperlocal” indicates a desire to distinguish sourcing that happens at the community level. To access local products, Fresh Thyme is working with the product discovery and sourcing platform RangeMe, which offers access to more than 200,000 packaged goods.
The inclusion of Meijer brand products on shelves, meanwhile, appears to be a first for Fresh Thyme, which receives funding from Meijer. In late 2019, Gerald Melville, previously regional vice president at Meijer, replaced Chris Sherrell, Fresh Thyme's founder, as president of the natural foods grocer.
Meijer has been gradually opening small-format grocery stores and recently revealed plans to open a roughly 90,000-square-foot grocery store in Michigan. Other grocers have long turned to concept stores and alternative formats as places where they can test out new products and services before rolling them out on a wider basis. Schnuck Markets, which is based in St. Louis, plans to soon open in Indiana the first location in a new format centered on fresh products.
Fresh Thyme has closed several stores over the past two years as it fights to win over shoppers in the 10 Midwestern states where it operates. Last year, the company unveiled a revised name and logo, and rolled out a marketing campaign focused on its customers.