“Like any organization experiencing rapid growth and expansion, sometimes we need to optimize our approach and make changes if something isn’t working,” Chris Sherrell, president and CEO of Fresh Thyme Farmers Market, said in a statement released by the company via email Wednesday afternoon. “We are continuing to refine our real estate strategy, but sometimes certain stores are simply not as successful as others. We take the well-being of our staff very seriously — this was not an easy decision for us. We will do everything we can to ease this transition for them.”
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The Fresh Thyme spokeswoman said the company is working with employees of the Sugarcreek Twp. store “to identify opportunities at other Fresh Thyme Farmers Market stores. Severance packages will be available to team members who are not interested in accepting a position at a different Fresh Thyme store.”
The 28,000-square-foot Sugarcreek Twp. store opened in March 2015. Its location is in a portion of Dayton’s south suburbs where grocery competition is fierce. It is directly across Feedwire Road from the Cornerstone of Centerville development, which includes Costco Wholesale and a large Kroger store. A Marc’s grocery store opened less than a year ago 1.5 miles to the west, and a second Kroger store is located about two miles south on Wilmington Pike.
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When the Feedwire Road Fresh Thyme opened four years ago, company officials said they had plans for a third Dayton-area location, but those plans never materialized.
Fresh Thyme signed a 15-year lease on the space that extends through May 31, 2030, according to an online real estate sales listing from earlier this year.
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Fresh Thyme, based in Downers Grove, Illinois, operates 75 stores nationwide, mostly in the Midwest. The company announced a shakeup in its executive ranks just two weeks ago, promoting Dean Little to chief operating officer and hiring Tod Pepin, who previously served as senior vice president of foods merchandising for the Meijer grocery chain, as chief merchandising officer.
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In February, Fresh Thyme announced it had recorded sales growth of 19.8 percent in 2018, and was planning further expansion in 2019.