I’ve always been a grocery store junkie. In college, my best friend and I would actually take “field trips” to the grocery store just to see what was new. A little pathetic, maybe, but I don’t care. #sorrynotsorry
After we moved away from each other, we would still take our little field trips. One time when I was in Louisville visiting her, we went to Fresh Market. I liked it so much I wrote a blog post about it! Other times, before we had Trader Joe’s close to us, we met in Cincinnati to see what all the fuss was about.
When I was contacted to provide an honest review of a new grocery store in the Dayton area, I immediately signed up for it. How exciting! What’s funny is when I was contacted, the girl didn’t tell me what grocery store it was. Just that it was a “new store in the Dayton area”. I’d made plans to visit the store with a girlfriend even before the name was revealed.
My friend, Kristy, and I planned to go to Fresh Thyme Farmer’s Market last Sunday afternoon. Looking back, it was probably the single most awful time to go to the grocery store we could have picked. The fact that I (the person who would rather chew her own arm off than be in a big crowd of people) still enjoyed myself speaks volumes. First and foremost, it was a gorgeous day. Chilly, but bright blue skies.
I’m always in such a great mood when the sky is filled with light, wispy clouds, aren’t you? In we went, with no intention of buying anything. Kristy suggested we get a cart, which we did. She wanted to get a big cart but I assured her we wouldn’t even need the little mini cart. Haha. Yeah, I was wrong.
The first area we came to was produce. It was a farmer’s market, after all. Now I know every store has their own lost leaders (products with super low prices that drive customers in the store), but $.89 for a pint of strawberries is crazy! And what’s more? They were delicious. Seriously.
I kept looking for prices to be unreasonable as they are in most “trendy” grocery stores, but in all honesty Fresh Thyme had very comparable (if not cheaper) prices to big box retailers like Kroger. In addition to their great prices, they have this cool thing where you can “double dip” on Wednesdays. They call it Double Ad Wednesdays. See, every Wednesday their new ad breaks BUT their old ad still rings at the sale prices. What does this mean? On Wednesdays you get both the past week’s and the current week’s sale prices at the same time! Kristy and I meandered around, trying to take in everything the store had to offer.
One of my favorite little corners was the artisan bread display. I was tempted to pick up a loaf of the sourdough, but I am trying to be good and avoid loaves of bread. They can be a trouble food for me.
Moving right along, they have an assortment of sandwiches and other goodies you can purchase for lunch or a light dinner. I used to work right down the road and it would have been awesome to be able to run in for a quick bite knowing I was getting quality, local ingredients in a delicious meal.
Their sushi selections were amazing too. Wanna know something cool? They fly in their seafood fresh daily. Wanna know something else cool? They do their research and make sure their fish is sustainable, proving they are not only looking for the best quality product but are also considerate of the environment. I like that.
You know how that “other” grocery store has their infamous salad and prepared foods bar?
Check out their carne asada. Doesn’t that look yum? I thought so. A pound of it made it into my cart. Another thing I liked about Fresh Thyme was just how many things they made fresh in house. One thing in particular was their sausages. They have over a dozen different varieties of sausage they make daily. I’m definitely picking up a couple of those next time! I smell sizzling sausage with peppers and onions in my future…
Their produce section seemed to be never ending. I loved the gorgeous displays all over the place. As opposed to the picked over selections at Kroger, this produce was piled in luscious, bountiful mounds. I found out they source their produce locally and buy direct from vendors in order to keep costs down. I’ll bring up those strawberries again. We were able to sample them in the store and they were so yummy I bought two pints. I’m very seriously considering stopping by again to pick up more even though it’s out of my way.
OK, wait. Let’s talk bulk bins for a minute.
Just look at these beauties! Coffee, grains, flours, seeds, nuts, fruit. You name it. They had it. It’s the perfect way to try something you’re curious about (read: coconut flour) without having to invest in a $10 bag of the stuff you may never use again.
That’s all. Carry on.
To be perfectly honest, Kristy and I didn’t spend a whole ton of time in the dry grocery section of the store. We were too fascinated with the fresh areas. We were able to find several varieties of Vita Tops (one of Kristy’s favorites) and a great deal on Alexia frozen potatoes though.
Finally we wandered around the “fun” aisles. That’s beer and wine to you. They have a huge selection of both!
So let’s get down to the nitty gritty. Did I like this store? No. I loved it. I was so impressed by the quality of ingredients, the layout and merchandising of the store (which is a lot coming from a retail manager), and most of all the affordable pricing. I talked to several of the employees while I was there and you can really tell they love what they do. They want to bring happiness and quality to their customers, a trait I find extremely rare in the retail environment. At Walgreens, we hold the customer experience in the highest regard, so when I find other retailers who do the same thing (read: Chick Fil A), I make it my mission to point it out.
Basically, everything you need to know is in their mission statement: to improve the way our communities eat by offering fresh and healthy food at amazing values, in a fun and vibrant store with friendly faces. I felt every bit of their mission statement in the too-crowded-for-my-comfort-level visit on Sunday afternoon. (Disclaimer: it was only too crowded for me. Normal people would be perfectly fine in there.)
If you’re looking for a new grocery store to try where the quality is king and the prices are reasonable, check out Fresh Thyme. I promise it’s worth a trip.
In all honesty, I was compensated by Fresh Thyme to review their grocery story, but all views and opinions of the store are 100% my own.