Fresh Thyme Market announced on Wednesday that it has named Liz Zolcak, former vice president of operations, as its new president.
Zolcak takes over for Gerald Melville, who is retiring after a 43-year retail career that included positions at Meijer, Albertsons and Supervalu.
Zolcak brings 17 years of grocery leadership experience to the top role, including serving as vice president of retail operations for Kroger and director of marketing for Aldi.
Since September 2020, Zolcak has overseen store operations for Fresh Thyme Market. Before that, she spent a year as vice president of retail operations for Kroger, and, prior to that, spent nearly two years as president of Ruler Foods, the discount grocery chain owned by the supermarket giant.
Zolcak spent more than a decade with Aldi, according to her LinkedIn profile, rising from a district manager to become director of corporate buying and then director of marketing. In her profile on the jobs networking site, she notes that she spearheaded a rebranding and operations transformation while at Ruler Foods and drove the execution of an omnichannel marketing campaign for Aldi.
Zolcak steps into the president role that Melville held for more than two years. A former regional vice president at Meijer who oversaw nearly 50 of the company’s supercenters, Melville also held senior leadership roles in customer service, store operations, food safety, asset protection and labor with Albertsons and Supervalu.
Melville took over the top role at Fresh Thyme in November 2019 after Chris Sherrell, who had led the company since its founding in 2012, stepped down. A natural industry veteran, Sherrell drove an aggressive expansion plan for Fresh Thyme, but that growth stalled around the time of his departure as it closed several locations.
Like other specialty grocery chains, Fresh Thyme has had to cope with growing competition from traditional grocery stores as well as discounters and other alternative formats, all of which have boosted their assortment of local, natural and organic products over the past several years.
Fresh Thyme currently operates 71 stores in 10 Midwestern states. Late last year, it opened a store in a popular shopping plaza in St. Louis. The small-format location includes around 1,000 local products as well as private label products from Meijer, which has been an investor in Fresh Thyme.