Fresh Thyme opens its first area market

Beavercreek store under construction, and third area site planned.

The first of three planned Fresh Thyme Farmers Market locations in the Miami Valley opened Wednesday in Sugarcreek Twp., offering another option for shoppers who are the target of an increasingly competitive grocery-store market in Dayton’s south suburbs.

“We are a different concept,” Fresh Thyme CEO Chris Sherrell said after Wednesday’s grand opening for the new specialty grocery store at 4317 Feedwire Road. Sherrell called Fresh Thyme “a natural, organic and specialty store that is going to have the best prices in town.”

The region’s first Fresh Thyme is located across from the Cornerstone of Centerville development, home to a Costco Warehouse and a future Kroger store. And it’s less than three miles from another Kroger store that is poised to undergo a multi-million-dollar renovation, and which Kroger officials confirmed Wednesday will remain open even after the chain’s Cornerstone store opens.

Fresh Thyme specializes in fresh fruits, vegetables and meats for customers and also offers an array of gluten-free products, Fresh Thyme officials said.

Sugarcreek Twp. Administrator Barry Tiffany was pleased when the Phoenix-based specialty grocer agreed to build its first Dayton-area location in the township, bringing with it about 100 new jobs.

“They know their market, and they see that there’s a need for this in this market,” Tiffany said.

Fresh Thyme is already constructing its second Dayton-area location, 2850 Centre Dr. near the Mall at Fairfield Commons in Beavercreek, which is expected to open in mid-May, Sherrell said. The company CEO said a site has been identified for a third Dayton-area location, but he declined to release details.

“The Ohio market is a big market for us,” Sherrell said.

The 28,000-square-foot store in Sugarcreek Twp. enters an organic- and health-foods market in Dayton’s south suburbs that already includes Earth Fare in Centerville and Health Foods Unlimited in Miami Twp., among others. Whole Foods is putting the finishing touches on its first Dayton-area store at the intersection of McEwen and Miamisburg-Centerville roads in Washington Twp., and township officials say the store will likely open in the late spring or early summer.

Kroger officials previously had said no decision had been made about the future of any stores surrounding its proposed Cornerstone of Centerville store. But on Wednesday, a spokeswoman for the grocery chain said Kroger has “no plans to close” its store at 6480 Wilmington Pike in Sugarcreek Twp. even after a new Kroger Marketplace store is built in Cornerstone.

Kroger has submitted plans to Sugarcreek Twp. officials for an extensive remodeling of the store and has proposed to build a fuel center in front of the grocery store, along Wilmington Pike.

Tiffany said township officials are “very happy that Kroger is doing this,” and said the renovation plans will result in “a more upscale” store. He projected the total investment of both the renovation and fuel center projects could reach $8 million to $10 million.

Kroger spokeswoman Rachael Betzler on Wednesday declined to discuss specifics of the renovation to the Wilmington Pike store that was built in 1994 and underwent minor renovation in 2005.