New Broad Ripple Fresh Thyme ready to open Thursday

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INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - Several people have turned out for the big grand opening of the new Fresh Thyme in Broad Ripple.

The first 250 people in line when the doors open this morning receive a free bag of healthy groceries from the store.

Our crews have found some eager shoppers lined up well before the doors open at 7 a.m.

Wendesday night there were several dozen people in attendance for a ribbon cutting at the new store.

The grocery store is part of a $37 million mixed-used development that's been in the works for several years.

At 33,500 square feet, it's the largest Fresh Thyme in Indiana, selling everything from regular grocery items to fresh meats and produce to an assortment of specialty and Indiana products.

Checking things out for the first time, Kathy Drews said, "it's absolutely awesome and I walked here in 12 minutes, I timed it...it's fabulous, plus there's outdoor seating, so it's a dream come true."

The store anchors The Coil, a five-story apartment building with 147 units and four townhomes. It's a development that had to overcome several hurdles, facing stiff opposition from those who thought it was too big and out of character for the village.

Rudy Nehrling, who owns the nearby Good Earth, a health food store was one of the most vocal critics.

Asked about the Fresh Thyme opening, he said, "Yeah, it's here, there's no going back. It's a pretty large building but I'm trying to stay positive. I'm optimistic people living in the new apartments will look at Broad Ripple as their village and want to shop with us and go to local restaurants and be part of the Broad Ripple experience."

And Nehrling does like the new esplanade under construction on the north side of the canal. It includes new lighting and landscaping and will run from College to Guilford, where his store is located.

Condos and apartments are also going up elsewhere in the village, including one large development just south of the Indianapolis Art Center. Long-known for its bars, restaurants and nightlife, Broad Ripple is also drawing new shops and businesses.

Mark Wolf, president of the Broad Ripple Village Association said, "the biggest thing that's important to us is the density of living."

Shannon Crow works at the Athletic Annex, a running store that opened across from the Monon Trail two years ago. She said the demographics seem to be changing.

"It's more family-friendly in Broad Ripple than it was ten years ago. It's less all bars and more restaurants and families. It's definitely become a destination," she said.

Sam McBride, who works at the Bungalow, a store that's been in the village for 20 years, agreed.

She said Broad Ripple is "refurbishing itself, kind of reinventing itself in a way...and as far as business, business is improving."

Though McBride did add, "I'd like to see more shops in the area. I'd like to see less bars, but it is what it is and I do think once we see more apartments with businesses underneath, we'll see more of that."

Fresh Thyme officially opens Thursday morning. The store hours will be 7 a.m.-10 p.m., seven days a week.

The Coil's first tenants are expected to begin moving in the middle of April.