Fresh Thyme Farmers Market and The Kroger Co. expand Michigan market
Eight new, remodeled or re-branded grocery stores are slated to open Wednesday in metro Detroit as part of expansion efforts by Downers Grove, Ill.-based Fresh Thyme Farmers Market and The Kroger Co.
The three Fresh Thyme stores, located in Troy, Rochester Hills and Northville, will open at 7 a.m. on Wednesday, four months after Fresh Thyme’s inaugural Michigan store opened in East Lansing.
“When we look at areas to put stores, we look at the population, education, what kind of food is in the home,” Chris Sherrell, president and CEO of Fresh Thyme, told Crain’s last week. “There are a lot of college towns in the Midwest, and a lot of food (prepared) at home in the Midwest, but not a lot of options for a natural organic and specialty store.”
The stores will carry a mix of natural and organic products as well as more familiar grocery staples, according to Sherrell; each store will range from 28,000-30,000 square feet.
“We really want to be that stepping stone between conventional stores to reaching that healthier option,” Sherrell said.
Two of the locations, Troy and Rochester Hills, were renovations of existing buildings costing $4 million-$4.5 million. The Northville location was a new build, costing approximately $8 million.
The grand opening celebrations at all three stores will include live music, a scavenger hunt and free food sampling. The first 250 shoppers at each location will receive $50 worth of healthy groceries in a reusable bag. Fresh Thyme is also set to donate a total of $15,000 to four local organizations during the ribbon-cutting ceremony: $5,000 to Rochester-based Dinosaur Hills Nature Preserve, $5,000 to the Northville Historical Society and $2,500 each to the Troy Foundation for Educational Excellence and the Troy Dog Park.
The five Kroger locations in West Bloomfield, Commerce, Northville, Ann Arbor and South Lyon are grand re-openings of former Hiller’s Market locations, which Kroger acquired earlier this year. The stores are 40,000-70,000 square feet, and are part of a $150 million plan by Kroger to remodel and expand its Michigan division this year. A sixth location, 425 North Center in Northville, is undergoing an extensive remodel and is set to open in November, according to Kroger Communications Manager Ken McClure.
The stores will open at 8 a.m. with the first 400 shoppers receiving a $10 gift card and a free reusable shopping bag, and will feature extended hours from 6 a.m.-12 a.m. daily.
“Kroger is proud to continue the Hiller’s Market’s legacy for fresh,” Jayne Homco, president of The Kroger Co. of Michigan said in a news release. “We are also pleased to be able to retain many former Hiller’s associates and all Hiller’s store managers, which has helped us transition the stores and select products that will appeal to local customers.”