is built around an app that will give consumers individualized deals,
recipes and digitalized grocery lists. “Ultimately, we want to get rid of
paper and get all our customers signed on to My Thyme,” he says. “The
savings will be tremendous and it will bring us closer to our shoppers.”
A TEAM EFFORT
Getting consumers involved also means getting employees involved.
Sherrell relates that one of the chain’s biggest challenges is finding
enough qualified employees to work the stores, especially with so many
new units opening every year. “We started from scratch,” Sherrell
notes. “When we opened our first stores we did not have people already
here that we could place at the new stores and have them run it and
“We hired 2,600 employees in 26 months,” he adds. “It is very hard
to develop the right culture, but we knew it was absolutely necessary.
Great companies have great cultures and they have great employees
who are motivated and feel like the are part of the solution.”
That culture starts at the top. Sherrell spends part of each week vis-
iting stores and listening to store employees. “I get involved and make
it clear that I want the staff to reach out to me. I listen to them and see
how the business is going—and I want the brutally honest truth,” he
says. “Everything cannot be going great after adding 40-plus stores in
just over two years.”
So where does Fresh Thyme go from here? Sherrell seems very set
on a few things. One is making sure that the company has the right
employees and that they are happy to be on the team. The second is
to continue to fine-tune the merchandise mix, adding national brands
where needed and continuing the emphasis on the private label strategy
that truly makes Fresh Thyme unique.
The third is to keep on growing. Besides adding more stores in existing areas, Fresh Thyme officials are looking at the Upper Midwest,
“Fresh Thyme has been an excellent partner. They make the customer a priority, and they listen to manufacturers in
order to have the best mix of products available.
They also place emphasis on educating store personnel.
They recognize that when it comes to supplements, the
consumer has many questions and an educated associate
makes for a satisfied customer.
It is exciting to watch the growth of Fresh Thyme. They are
innovative in their approach to business but also rely on the
time-tested importance of value-priced healthy and natural
offerings.” — DAVID KUYKENDALL, NATIONAL SALES MANAGER FOR NELSON BACH USA
particularly metropolitan areas in Minnesota, as well as Ohio and
possibly an eastward expansion for future growth. “The goal is 151
stores in our first seven years, but who knows how far we can really
go,” he says.
“I am not a traditional CEO and this is not a traditional chain,” he
adds. “We are creating something special here and we are doing it as
a team. It is the energy of that team that is driving us into the future
and I am confident that we are on the right track to becoming a legitimate alternative for consumers in the Midwest looking for natural
and organic products at a reasonable price.”