DOWNERS GROVE, Ill. — Chris Sherrell, the founder, president and chief executive officer at Fresh Thyme Farmers Market, resigned from the company on October 31.
In seven years at the helm, Sherrell guided the company’s expansion to 77 stores in 11 states, mostly in the upper Midwest.
Last month, Fresh Thyme announced the closure of three stores due to poor performance, and the chain was part of an apple recall announced due to a potential listeria contamination.
“I am extremely proud of the company I was able to build as well as our mission of bringing fresh and healthy food at an amazing value to dozens of communities,” Sherrell said in statement. “As happens with many entrepreneurs, as Fresh Thyme has matured, I am ready for my next challenge.”
Fresh Thyme also said it was hiring Meijer executive Gerald Melville as president. Melville brings nearly four decades of retail experience to the job, including stints at Supervalu and Albertsons. Melville joined Meijer 10 year ago and had been serving the retailer as regional vice president of stores, overseeing operations at about four dozen supercenters in Wisconsin and Illinois.
Meijer is an investor in Fresh Thyme.
“I’m very pleased about this exciting opportunity,” said Melville in a statement. “Fresh Thyme is a dynamic brand with an ideal offering for today’s health conscious customer. I’m looking forward to joining the team and working together to continue the company’s growth and success.”
Sherrell has spent more than 20 years in fresh and natural food retailing, beginning with a job at Wild Oats Markets. He joined Phoenix-based Sunflower Farmers Markets in 2002, where he was promoted to president and chief operating officer, in 2008, and to CEO three years later. Sherrell left a short time later after Sprouts Farmers Market acquired the business.