In a signal that The Fresh Market may be preparing to begin building stores again, the specialty retailer has hired former Sprouts Farmers Market’s real estate chief Ted Frumkin as group VP of real estate, development and construction.
“Ted brings more than 36 years of experience in strategic market planning, new store development, construction project management, procurement, property management and financial analysis,” said Jim Heaney, chief financial officer of The Fresh Market. “We are looking forward to his expertise to help The Fresh Market continue to innovate fresh specialty grocery.”
The Fresh Market, which was taken private by Apollo Capital Management five years ago and earlier this month said it was exploring a return to the public market, has been paring down for much of that time—the 159 stores it operates today in 22 states is down from the 189 stores in 27 states it operated when acquired by Apollo in 2016.
While under Apollo’s watch the chain halted plans to build several new stores in early 2018 and later that year closed 15 units. Its turnaround included addressing what industry consultant Burt P. Flickinger III called a “mediocre” approach to store design, renovations and remodels. “Stores had deficient lighting in my professional view,” Flickinger, of Strategic Resource Group, told WGB. “That suppresses their sales potential.”
Frumkin has overseen the opening of more than 550 new stores across the U.S., many with Sprouts, with whom he served for nearly seven years between late 2012 and early last year, when Sprouts expanded from the West Coast to Texas, the Southeast, and the Mid-Atlantic states. He also helped to lead development of a larger, more service-oriented format that Sprouts has since turned away from. Sprouts, like The Fresh Market, for a time was owned by Apollo. Both retailers are currently focused on a strategy of differentiated fresh-food presentation although Sprouts origins are in value, while The Fresh Market has traditionally taken an upscale approach.
Earlier is his career, Frumkin served key real estate roles for Staples, Rubio’s Restaurants, Walmart, Taco Bell and Office Depot.
Frumkin earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Texas Christian University and an MBA from Florida International University College of Business.