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PCC Community Markets CEO Urges Members to Spend More

Seattle-area co-op coming off difficult fiscal year
Lynn Petrak, Progressive Grocer
To boost profitability after a tough year of losses, PCC Community Markets is asking its members to visit and buy more.

It’s not an understatement to note that the first half of this decade has proven challenging to many independent grocers and cooperatives. In a May 22 letter to members, President and CEO Krish Srinivasan of PCC Community Markets noted that after a difficult 2023, this will be a pivotal year for the future of that longtime Seattle-area co-op.

“2024 marks the beginning of a transformative, multi-year period for PCC. Knowing that sustained profitability is the only reliable way to deepen the impact of our mission in the community, we are now focused on returning the co-op to robust financial health,” he wrote. 

During the most recent fiscal year, PCC navigated a labor dispute that wasn’t settled until this past February and closed its downtown Seattle store, which impacted the co-op’s bottom line and cut into its profitability. For these and other reasons, the co-op’s board of trustees nixed the patronage dividend normally paid to members. 

To be sure, it was a wobbly fiscal period. According to the co-op’s financial report released this month, the member-owned business posted $436.5 million in net sales in 2023, growing 3.5% on a year-over-year (YoY) basis but falling short on expectations. The co-op lost nearly $10 million in net income, due to the store closures, the labor negotiation process and lingering macroeconomic conditions that caused shoppers to buy fewer items per visit. 

[RELATED: Independent Grocery Store Closings Reflect Fallout From Tough Conditions]

While PCC is currently investing in its future through initiatives like member-only events and discounts, Srinivasan underscored the importance of shoppers’ support. “You, our member-owners, are the co-op’s most committed and loyal patrons, and we need your help. We know that you all appreciate the quality of the products we sell, and how we treat people, animals and the planet in getting those items from where they are made, raised and grown to our shelves. We know that you value the extraordinary service from our incredible staff. We know you understand that what each PCC store offers is special and not available through any other grocer in the region,” he declared. 

The CEO continued, “For these reasons, we ask you to consider strengthening your commitment to PCC; earmark the largest percentage of your grocery budget for the co-op. Make PCC the first stop on your grocery list. Share what you think is special about PCC with your family and friends.”

PCC operates 15 stores in the Puget Sound area, including the cities of Bellevue, Bothell, Burien, Edmonds, Issaquah, Kirkland, Redmond and Seattle. The Seattle stores are in the neighborhoods of Ballard, Central District, Columbia City, Fremont, Green Lake, View Ridge and West Seattle. The co-op was also named one of Progressive Grocer’s 10 Most Sustainable Grocers for 2024. 

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