Fresh Thyme Market, Naturally Chicago expand access to local products

Natural and organic brands and retailers benefit from building relationships through Naturally Chicago’s Locally Made Program. Find out more.

January 25, 2024

2 Min Read
Naturally Chicago's Locally Made Program connects local brands with area retailers.
Naturally Chicago

Fresh Thyme Market is the first retail partner in Naturally Chicago's Locally Made Retail Access Program, which is designed to expand the selection of local products on Chicago-area store shelves.

Through the program, Fresh Thyme Market curates relationships with natural product entrepreneurs to create jobs and thrive in the competitive retail grocery segment. Adding more of these products to shelves helps Fresh Thyme Market bring shoppers closer to locally grown, healthy and sustainable food and beverages.

"Fresh Thyme Market is thrilled to be the first retailer in this exciting initiative," said Jonathan Lawrence, vice president of merchandising for Fresh Thyme Market and a Naturally Chicago board member. "As a community-focused grocer, we're proud to support these local brands and be an innovative and collaborative partner in their larger success stories."

After Fresh Thyme Market hosted a pitch competition with Naturally Chicago, the retailer added nine new Locally Made brands to shelves:

  • Big Star Cocktails, produced by Apologue Liqueurs

  • Carolyn's Krisps Snacks

  • Evergreen Frozen Waffles

  • Forbidden Root Craft Beers

  • Inspiro Tequila

  • IYA Foods Chipers Crackers

  • Ms. P's Gluten-Free Granola

  • Popadelics Mushroom

  • Windy City Mushroom

Fresh Thyme Market will also create shelf talkers, endcaps and a digital marketing program to promote all Naturally Chicago Locally Made brands it stocks. This marketing aspect will roll out later in the year, according to Naturally Chicago’s website.

"Partnering with Fresh Thyme Market has been a strategic choice for Naturally Chicago, and we're thrilled to collaborate with a grocer that shares our commitment to fostering better-for-you brands." said Jim Slama, co-founder and managing director of Naturally Chicago. "Fresh Thyme Market's dedication to community, and their support for sustainable brands align seamlessly with our mission. Consumers increasingly seek out local brands, and we appreciate Fresh Thyme Market's role in helping to meet this growing demand.”

The Locally Made Program is open to all Naturally Chicago brand partners, particularly early-stage brands owned by underrepresented communities including people of color and women. To qualify for the program, brands’ corporate office must be located or products must be grown, produced or manufactured within 150 miles of Chicago, Illinois.

Brands who participate will enjoy increased sales opportunities, introductions to retailers, access to KeHE Distributors’ category managers and publicity via Naturally Chicago.

Retailers benefit from the Locally Made Program through its plug-and-play design, meeting consumers’ demand for local products, increasing awareness of natural and organic products, more publicity through Naturally Chicago and more.

KeHE Distributors, which is based in Naperville, Illinois, a Chicago suburb, also is a partner in the Locally Made Program. Fresh Thyme Market’s corporate office is in Downers Grove, another Chicago suburb.

For more information about Naturally Chicago’s Locally Made Program, click here or email [email protected].

Sources: Fresh Thyme and Naturally Chicago

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