Dean Little has been promoted to chief operating officer and Tod Pepin has been hired as chief merchandising officer at Fresh Thyme Farmers Market.
The Downers Grove, Ill.-based specialty grocer said Little will take on an expanded role. In addition to overseeing store operations, new store development, asset protection and food safety, he will be responsible for real estate, construction and distribution-center operations.
A 40-year-plus retail grocery industry veteran, Little joined Fresh Thyme in 2017 as chief operations officer. Before that, he spent five years at Price Chopper Supermarkets as senior vice president of operations, which followed 36 years at Vons/Safeway, including as vice president of retail operations.
Meanwhile, Pepin will assume oversight of all merchandising, marketing and pricing at Fresh Thyme. He fills the role vacated by Mark Doiron, who left the chain in November after more than a year-and-a-half as chief merchandising, marketing and supply chain officer.
Pepin brings over 25 years of experience in merchandising strategy, category management, replenishment and retail operations to Fresh Thyme. Most recently, he was senior vice president of food merchandising at supercenter operator Meijer. Prior to that, Pepin served three years as senior vice president of merchandising, governance, private brands and business planning at Delhaize America, following stints as senior vice president of merchandising and supply chain at Delhaize’s Hannaford chain.
“As we continue our commitment to making fresh, organic food accessible to all, we are incredibly happy to promote and bring on these innovative leaders whose passion matches our own,” Fresh Thyme CEO Chris Sherrell said in a statement. “We are confident these talented executives will offer fresh ideas, deliver new innovations and lead the company to continued success.”
Fresh Thyme focuses on providing value-priced fresh, healthy and organic foods. The chain, which has financial backing from Meijer, operates 75 stores in 11 states, primarily in the Midwest. Plans call for 20 more stores to be opened by 2020, following 10 openings in the previous year.