New grocery chain plans three local stores

Fresh Thyme Farmers Market, a Phoenix-based specialty grocery startup that plans to open its first eight stores this year and 60 over the next five years, has picked sites for three stores in Indianapolis.

The company said it will open Indianapolis locations this summer at 4225 E. 82nd St. in the Lake Clearwater area and at 8750 U.S. 31, north of Greenwood Park Mall. A third local location is set to open in 2015 at 2342 W. 86th St. in space now occupied by Kahn’s Fine Wines & Spirits near North Willow Farms.

IBJ first reported on the chain's plans to enter the market in November.

Fresh Thyme also said it plans to open a store in Fort Wayne this summer and one in Lafayette this fall. The company has announced locations for its first 23 stores in seven different states, including the five in Indiana.

The very first store is expected to open in Mt. Prospect, Ill., this spring.

Fresh Thyme’s 28,000-square-foot groceries will compete in the same sector as Fresh Market, Earth Fare and Whole Foods Market. The company describes itself as a cross between a farmers market and a full-service grocery store.    

Jim Arnold, owner of the Kahn’s Fine Wines chain, said he has closed the North Willow store and sold the retail plaza to Lauth Property Group for an undisclosed amount. His other two Kahn’s locations will remain open.

Arnold said the North Willow store was making money but the retail plaza was not. He said Lauth will be able to revitalize the plaza by adding Fresh Thyme.

“In a nutshell, they made me an offer I couldn’t refuse,” Arnold said.
The plaza also contains a Vanilla Bean Bakery, a Painting with a Twist location, and a 14,000-square-foot vacancy.

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