In 2020, our world changed in ways we never imagined. The pandemic hit PCC hard as an essential business, and those first months were extraordinarily challenging as the entire food system tried to get ahead of the chaos and fear. Food insecurity grew across the nation and directly impacted our neighbors. And while working through those challenges, our nation and local community experienced civil unrest ignited by the killing of George Floyd.
Last year was hard, but the co-op’s store teams and leadership leaned in harder. With guidance and support from the Board of Trustees, the entire organization stayed nimble and responsive in the face of rapidly changing local and federal government policies and requirements. We kept our shelves stocked by deftly navigating a struggling supply chain and leveraging our local relationships. Through it all, we prioritized the health and safety of our staff and shoppers.
We allowed innovation to flourish as we transformed our 30-year-old food bank program to a “Farm to Food Bank” model that helps local farms get their food into the hands of those in need. We opened two new stores, first in the Central District and then we expanded our presence on the Eastside, opening our 15th store with Bellevue PCC. Both of these new stores continue to bring sustainably sourced food, excellent job opportunities and an influx of giving to those communities. And our Ballard store was certified as the first grocery store in the world to achieve Living Building Challenge Petal Certification, a rigorous green building standard.
We listened closely to members and community leaders who challenged us to create a Board that is more racially diverse and reflects the communities we serve. We agree, and our work is underway. You will see changes to the Board in 2021 that move us closer to a goal of 30-40% of our Board composed of persons of color.
In the midst of 2020’s profound uncertainty, we also addressed two critical needs to set up the co-op for success. First, we completed an extensive six-month search to recruit a new CEO who embodied the values of the co-op and brought the experience, skills and cultural appreciation desired to lead PCC. That work culminated in December when we welcomed Suzy Monford as PCC’s President and CEO. Suzy brings to the co-op decades of relevant experience in the grocery and restaurant industries as well as a passion for creating healthy communities, a dedication to health and wellness, and a focus on innovation.
Second, we chose to take a necessary look inward at our vision, mission and values. What better time to get clear about how we hope to impact the world and conduct our business? While members and staff often reference a perceived mission or set of values, the co-op needed to update and clarify our purpose. So, the Board and leadership team worked together with an expert consultant to seek input from staff, members, vendors and nonprofit partners throughout a year-long, iterative process of crystalizing the co-op’s vision, mission and values.
The PCC community can now unite in support of the co-op’s vision: to inspire and advance the health and well-being of people, their communities and our planet. This guiding principle isn’t necessarily new to the co-op; it simply puts a fine point on our purpose. It was with this vision in mind that we navigated the challenges of 2020 while staying true to PCC’s values. It will likewise be our North Star as we support the co-op into the future.
All of us — the store teams, office staff, leadership team and the Board — thank you, the co-op’s members, for your support, dedication and patience through this unprecedented year. Together we did important work, which you will read about in this report. The achievements, often earned in the face of what felt like insurmountable challenges, prove the strength and resilience of this community. We look forward to continuing to journey with you.
Chair, PCC Board of Trustees