Back to Specialty Food News

PCC Celebrates 70 Years

Specialty Food Association

PCC Community Markets is marking seven decades of advancing the health and well-being of people, their communities, and the planet, the retailer says. PCC began as a food-buying club of 15 Seattle families in 1953. Since then, the mission grew to ensure that good food nourishes the communities the co-op serves while cultivating vibrant, local, organic food systems.

“2023 is a momentous year to both reflect on the co-op’s legacy and look to the future,” said PCC Community Markets CEO Krish Srinivasan, in a statement. “Participating in our co-op’s mission has long been a deeply meaningful way to invest in the Pacific Northwest’s food systems and community while also putting high quality food on the table. Our members, today numbering more than 110,000 strong, have contributed immeasurably to keeping the co-op focused on these priorities. There isn’t a better time to acknowledge our members’ care, to express our deep gratitude to the community, and to reiterate our commitment to feeding it well for the next seven decades.”

Throughout the year, PCC will remember some of these legacy projects with community partners. Shoppers and members can look forward to these stories in the Sound Consumer, products supporting these organizations in PCC’s stores, educational experiences for members, and opportunities to be directly involved with projects PCC’s partners will be leading.

Moreover, PCC will continue to make and facilitate investments in Pacific Northwest food systems.

In partnership with Harvest Against Hunger and the Seattle Neighborhood Farmers Markets, PCC recently announced that Growing for Good secured the next three years of community funding. Growing for Good is a pandemic-borne innovation designed to support the stream of fresh, organic produce from small farms in the Puget Sound region to local hunger relief agencies. Since its development in April of 2020, Growing for Good has been funded by the community for the community, with contributions from PCC’s staff, members and shoppers totaling $300,000 between 2020 and 2022. Over the next three years PCC will shepherd another $300,000 of funds raised in-store, specifically designated to support the purchase of local food from farmers by hunger relief agencies, along with an additional $75,000 from the co-op.

Additionally, the Friends of PCC program will expand statewide in a new collaboration with Northwest Harvest to facilitate new and greater sourcing opportunities for food bank partners to obtain organic products. In 2021, the co-op partnered with United Natural Foods Inc. to launch Friends of PCC. This program allowed 18 neighborhood food banks to participate in the pilot that provided greater purchasing power and the ability to select foods that best met their client’s needs. Focused on improving equity in the local food system, Northwest Harvest supports a state-wide network of over 400 food banks, meal programs, and high-need schools. PCC will contribute $20,000 in fundraised dollars to support this launch, which Northwest Harvest will dedicate to purchases by Alimentando el Pueblo, a Latinx food bank based in South King County. UNFI will match with a $15,000 contribution to support this program’s expansion. 

October is Member Month

PCC began as a community of people committed to each other and to good food. The co-op has always been and remains member-owned and operated — for a $60 lifetime investment, each member owns an equal share of the co-op. Members elect the Board of Trustees each year to represent their interests and participate in advocacy around local and national food systems. Unlike other grocery stores, PCC sends its profits directly back to its members, its stores, and to the communities it serves.

The retailer will devote October to thanking its 110,000 active members with its first-ever Member Month centered around the shared passions of food and community. The co-op will "surprise and delight" with member-only specials, prizes, and giveaways as it celebrates the collective impact of PCC members over the past 70 years.

Expanded Perks

PCC’s community stretches beyond its members and shoppers. It also includes the farmers, fishers, bakers, and makers who fill its shelves, and other businesses in the neighborhoods it serves. The PCC Partner Program offers co-op members exclusive deals and discounts with local businesses who share its values. The program tripled in 2023 with more perks for members than ever. From local arts and culture institutions to fitness studios and wineries, this list of PCC partners includes free items and discounts available across the Puget Sound.

Moreover, PCC members can take advantage of special offers each week. Members will enjoy more than $300 in value in 2023.

As the world passes the third anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic this month, the co-op is inviting shoppers and members back in for events throughout the year that will celebrate each season, spark conversation about local food systems, and create connections that support the local community, it says

Purpose in Perpetuity

Care for the impacts of business and food systems on communities and the planet has been built into PCC’s mission, vision, and values, according to the retailer. It has laid many of the bricks on the road of the 70-year co-op journey, from being one of the first retailers in the region to eliminate plastic grocery bags to achieving some of the most stringent green building certifications for its stores.

A substantial advancement during that journey was the establishment of PCC’s first-ever set of five-year social and environmental goals in 2017. These goals have guided and inspired the co-op towards new sustainability accomplishments — such as carbon negative store operations and a 32 percent reduction in water use — and aligned the co-op with rapidly advancing environmental, social, and governance standards and requirements. For 2023, PCC will identify its next-generation sustainability pathway.

The co-op will establish two new standards this year. One of those standards will be designed specifically to support suppliers from marginalized and underrepresented communities while the other will be focused on cleaning products.

PCC’s 16 neighborhood stores around the Puget Sound will also undergo interior updates, including signage, wayfinding, and community and membership boards that celebrate the people, places and fresh, quality food at the center of the PCC community.

Related: PCC Highlights Local Products; PCC Issues Producer Grants.