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Fresh Thyme Farmers Market headed to Downers Grove in 2015

Published: Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014 12:10 p.m. CDT

DOWNERS GROVE – Ogden Avenue could be home to a new grocery store next year, though it is not planned for the vacant Dominick's building.

Fresh Thyme Farmers Market announced a major Midwest expansion Wednesday, including a new store planned for 321 Ogden Ave. in Downers Grove in 2015.

The new specialty grocer features "healthy and organic value-priced offerings" and plans to open 60 new stores and create about 5,000 new jobs throughout the Midwest over the next five years, according to a press release.

The first new store is planned to open in Mount Prospect this spring, which will be followed by eight more grand openings this year.

The 28,000-square foot stores will feature a produce section including locally-sourced and organic items. The stores will also have a butcher shop, a dairy section featuring local items, a bakery, the Fresh Thyme Kitchen with salad bar, a wine and craft beer section and a supplement, vitamin and body care section.

Other planned suburban locations include Deerfield, Fairview Heights and Naperville.

The new chain is lead by former Sunflower Farmers Market President and CEO Chris Sherrell and a team from the business that merged last year with Sprouts Farmers Markets, according to another press release.

Sherrell said in the press release that the stores will have a smaller food service area than a Whole Foods, and will place greater focus on perishable items like produce and meat.

The announcement comes as the Chicagoland grocery landscape quickly evolves after the closure of every Dominick's grocery this winter. Jewel-Osco, Mariano's and Whole Foods bought some of the 72 closed Dominick's locations, but dozens remain vacant, including the former 72,000-square-foot Downers Grove store at 42 Ogden Avenue.

"I don't think it's a secret that the conventional leaders in the Midwest are somewhat in flux," Sherrell said in the press release. "… Chicago continues to be in a funk with the Dominickses and the Jewel-Oscoes; and some of the conventional leaders in Milwaukee/Madison are really kind of looking for an identity."

Shop & Save Market, located at 7241 Lemont Road, opened last year and features a concept similar to Fresh Thyme Farmers Market.

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