First, 7501 W. North Ave. in River Forest was a bowling alley. In the 1960s it became the second location that Dominick’s Finer Foods opened.

And, weather permitting, the site will open in March or April as a Fresh Thyme Farmers Market, a construction manager for the chain said this week. 

“We still have a lot to do,” Jeff Sitterly told Wednesday Journal. “We’re racing to try to get a lot of it done before winter sets in.” 

Inside, all the equipment — from slicers to store shelves and cases to coolers — were removed this summer. Ripping up the interior of the store began a couple of weeks ago; demolition is about 80 percent complete. Installing the new electrical system is going on at the same time as demolition, he said.

The building, Sitterly said, is structurally sound. But as this is an older structure, there’s still a lot of work to do. Because the site is a bit smaller than most other Fresh Thyme locations, the company will try to use as much of the building envelope as possible. Some mezzanine space on one side of the building will be reused as an employee breakroom and employees’ restrooms, he said. 

Outside, crews are ripping up and replacing asphalt. Storm and sanitary sewer work, landscaping and fencing still needs to be done. 

A typical buildout schedule from start to finish is about 22 weeks, Sitterly said. 

Initially, company officials predicted the store would open in November, 2015 and then pushed that back to February 2016. Sitterly didn’t explain why there’d been a delay. 

“It’s a work in progress,” he said. 

As many as 100 workers will be hired for the new store, based on how many are employed at other locations, said Justin Haasch, the chain’s director of real estate and market research. 

The store is projected to bring in sales tax of $100,000, River Forest Village Administrator Eric Palm said.

“We’re conservative in our revenue estimates particularly for new stores,” Palm said.  “Once we get a baseline [of revenue] of one to two years, we’ll have a better idea of what the future holds.”

—Deborah Kadin

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