PCC Community Markets Closing Downtown Seattle Store

Co-op cites location’s pandemic-driven unprofitability as reason for move
Bridget Goldschmidt
Managing Editor
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PCC Downtown Seattle Render Main Image
PCC's Downtown Seattle store, which opened in January 2022, is slated to close permanently a little more than two years later.

PCC Community Markets, a community-owned grocery cooperative in Washington state, has revealed that its Downtown Seattle store at 4th and Union will close permanently on Jan. 31, 2024 – just a little more than two years after its opening.

“Despite an amazing team, fantastic store conditions and a supportive landlord, our Downtown store has unfortunately remained unprofitable, and we do not see that changing for the foreseeable future,” noted PCC CEO Krish Srinivasan. “Since continued losses pose a significant financial risk to our co-op’s long-term viability, we are acting now.”

Since its debut, “Downtown PCC has significantly underperformed relative to its original financial expectations, in large part due to persistently lower numbers of office workers and residential grocery shoppers in the city center following the pandemic,” the co-op said. “Based on these dramatically changed shopper demographics and habits, PCC sees no viable path to operating a profitable full-service grocery store at this location.”

Added Srinivasan: “To our staff members at the Downtown store, I want to express my deep sadness at having to make this difficult but necessary decision. It is certainly not due to any lack of effort on your part. Instead, it reflects the hard reality of operating a retail business in a city center transformed by the pandemic.”

The location employs nearly 80 associates, who will be offered placement in other roles within the co-op at its 15 remaining stores, including seven in the city of Seattle.

The Downtown PCC lease was signed in 2018, and the original opening date in 2021 was pushed to 2022 because of general conditions in the area amid the pandemic. PCC reported lackluster results in 2021 and an operating loss in 2022, and the co-op admitted that “despite strong progress in many areas, 2023 will be similar – even with the closure of Downtown PCC. In looking ahead to 2024, the co-op is focused on restoring and securing its long-term financial viability. The closure of the Downtown store is an important and necessary step in that journey.”

Celebrating its 70th year in 2023, PCC operates 16 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, Downtown, Fremont, Green Lake, View Ridge and West Seattle. The co-op also plans to open a new store in Madison Valley. 

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