GENEVA – Organic grocer Fresh Thyme will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony with local officials from the Geneva Chamber of Commerce and various neighborhood associations at 3:45 p.m. Feb. 5 at 2000 S. Randall Rd., Geneva, with local residents welcome to shop from 4 to 7 p.m., the company announced in a news release.
During the ceremony, a $2,500 check donation will be made to Fox Valley Food for Health, a local charity that teaches teens how to prepare healthy, predominately organic and nutritious meals for people who are seriously ill and delivers the meals.
Fresh Thyme will officially open the store the next day at 7 a.m. Feb. 6. This will be the company’s 10th Illinois store, the release stated.
The first 250 shoppers who are 18 and older in line that morning will receive a free bag of groceries, marking the official start of a four-day celebration with live music, kids activities, food sampling and beer tastings, the release stated.
“From stocking local products, hiring residents and partnering with nonprofits, we are fully committed to servicing the Geneva community as part of the Fresh Thyme family,” Fresh Thyme President and CEO Chris Sherrell stated in the release. “We can’t imagine a better way to kick off the New Year than to expand our support of Illinois residents on their health journey with the opening of our Geneva store. We encourage residents to come check out our family-friendly celebration.”
In addition to stocking local produce, Fresh Thyme will feature local products including Gun Barrel Coffee, Sunny Hill Honey and Phil’s Eggs. The store will also have a juice bar and kombucha kegerator.
To further express its commitment to the Geneva community, Fresh Thyme will donate sales from its Boar’s Head hot dog cart during the opening festivities to Moose Charities.
Fresh Thyme has an extensive produce department with organic and local fruits and vegetables, a natural meat department, healthy deli foods to go, bakery goods, 400 bulk food bins, dairy and frozen, health supplement products, and its own line of organic and natural private label products, the release stated.
More information is available online at www.freshthyme.com.
Fresh Thyme shares space with Burlington in a former Dominick's grocery store in the Fabyan Crossing shopping mall.
Both chains' openings were delayed by a lawsuit filed in September 2017 when the owner of the former Gander Mountain, 2100 S. Randall Rd., sued the owner of the former Dominick’s grocery store, at 2000 S. Randall Rd., court records show.
If Fresh Thyme occupied the former Dominick’s, the other owner could not bring in Whole Foods or Mariano’s to the former Gander Mountain, the lawsuit stated.
The redevelopment work at the mall stopped until the lawsuit was settled in April 2018 – the original month Fresh Thyme had planned to open the Geneva store.
A new At Home retailer opened in the former Gander Mountain in May 2018.
Burlington had planned to open in the spring of 2018 but actually opened in September.
In November 2016, Geneva alderman agreed that the city would provide up to $5 million in a sales tax rebate as an economic incentive for the Fabyan Crossing center to be redeveloped.
The terms of the agreement with the city calls for a 50-50 split on investing in the shopping center, records show.
Officials said if the center owner invests $10 million, the city will invest up to $5 million through the sales tax rebate.
The agreement will remain in effect until Dec. 31, 2034, or until half the project costs are rebated, according to the contract.
Wauconda LLC, the owner of the former Dominick's, is in care of the Crown Group, a commercial real estate developer.
Craig Whitehead of the Crown Group told aldermen at the time that the collaboration with the city was necessary in order to terminate the lease on the Dominick’s building and update it for new tenants.
Aldermen voted 7-2 with one absent to approve the deal, with 1st Ward Alderman Tara Burghart and 2nd Ward Alderman Dean Kilburg voting no.
Burghart called the deal a “corporate handout.”