A grocery store that specializes in healthful and organic foods is set to move into the empty building once occupied by Borders along Coldwater Road.
Fresh Thyme Farmers Market announced Wednesday that the chain will open more than 60 stores throughout the Midwest over the next five years.
Twenty-three sites have already been chosen, including ones in the Chicago area, three in Indianapolis and one in Milwaukee, according to the chain’s website.
Among those listed is one scheduled to open its doors this summer at 4310 Coldwater Road, the website said.
“Fresh Thyme Markets will be a completely new grocery format for the Midwest,” Chris Sherrell, the company’s president and CEO, said in a statement.
“We’ve taken the experience of an outdoor farmers market and combined it with the convenience of a full-service grocery store.”
The Coldwater Road location has been vacant since the bookstore chain Borders went out of business nearly three years ago.
Fresh Thyme, which is based in Phoenix, is not the only specialty foods shop with plans to move into the area.
Specialty food sales reached nearly $86 billion last year, up from $75 billion in 2011 and $70 billion in 2010, according to the Specialty Food Association.
By comparison, traditional supermarkets recorded about $402 billion in sales last year, up from $398 billion in 2011 and $369 billion in 2010, according to figures from Progressive Grocer, an industry tracker.
Foods free of hormones, high-fructose corn syrup and gluten are the kinds of products health-conscious shoppers desire.
Summit City consumers evidently are a target audience. In the coming year, Fort Wayne could have at least three specialty stores making their debuts.
A teds market on the city’s north side, an Earth Fare at a former Scott’s store on East Dupont Road and a specialty grocery at the Lamplight Inn downtown are all in the works.