Liz Zolcak has been appointed as the new president of Fresh Thyme Market, taking over from Gerald Melville, who has retired after 43-year career in the grocery industry.
Downers Grove, Ill.-based Fresh Thyme noted that the promotion of Zolcak (pictured left) makes her the first woman to serve as the specialty grocer’s president. Previously, she held the post of vice president of operations, overseeing the chain’s 71 stores in 10 Midwestern states.
“I am thrilled and humbled to take on this exciting new challenge and to be trusted to lead such an incredible team,” Zolcak said in a statement. “Gerald and I have been able to accomplish significant wins with the team during our time working together, and I’m looking forward to even more successes ahead.”
A 17-year grocery retail veteran, Zolcak joined Fresh Thyme as vice president of operations in September 2020 from The Kroger Co., where she served as vice president of retail operations for over a year. Before that, she spent nearly two years as president of Ruler Foods, Kroger’s value grocery retail banner. That followed more than 11 years at Aldi U.S., most recently as director of corporate buying and over five years as director of marketing. She started at the hard discount grocer in mid-2006 as a district manager.
Melville (pictured left) had served as Fresh Thyme’s president since November 2019, when he took the reins from founder, president and CEO Chris Sherrell, who left the company. Melville cames to Fresh Thyme after nearly 10 years at supercenter retailer Meijer. He joined Meijer in 2009 as regional vice president and oversaw operations for almost 50 supercenters in Illinois and Wisconsin. Before that, he held a range of senior leadership roles at Albertsons and Supervalu, with responsibility for such areas as store operations, customer service, labor, food safety and asset protection.
“My tenure at Fresh Thyme Market has been challenging and exciting,” Melville stated. “As I move on to my next phase, I’m very confident Fresh Thyme Market is poised for continued success as I hand the baton to Liz.”
Sherrell launched Fresh Thyme in September 2012 and expanded the chain to 77 stores in 11 states, mainly in the upper Midwest. The specialty grocer focuses on providing fresh, natural and organic products in a farmer’s market-style shopping experience. It also caters to customers following vegan, paleo, keto, vegetarian or wheat- and gluten-free diets. Previously known as Fresh Thyme Farmers Market, the company in August 2020 streamlined its brand to Fresh Thyme Market and dropped the tractor icon from its retail banner.