A Letter from our CEO

Often in business, success is measured by numbers and metrics. That’s certainly how the value of a company is determined, and why so much attention is placed on financial reports and quarterly earnings.

At PCC, we operate under a triple bottom line — including but not limited to our financial impact — and we, too, use data to measure if we’ve achieved our social, environmental and financial goals.

But the truth is, the real measure of an organization is what happens outside the metrics. It’s the things that often can’t be measured that are equally impactful, like how we treat each other, what we stand for, who we support and where we focus our energy.

This, our second Co-op Purposes Report, uses data to clearly state our goals and demonstrate our impact. But it also speaks to our values, and the things we focus on that may not always show up in the numbers. For the first time, this report shares the impact PCC has across each of our bottom lines in one place and, for our social and environmental efforts, provides measurable goals. In clearly stating and sharing these goals, we aspire to be more accountable to our members and shoppers.

In this report, we also strive to demonstrate our values at work in the real world. When you read the story of Pure Éire Dairy in Othello, Washington, I know you’ll agree that PCC’s partnership to produce our private-label yogurt with this family-owned, organic, grass-fed, animal welfare-certified dairy will positively impact each of our co-op’s bottom lines. 

Pure Éire is just one of many highlights from the year. We also continued our long tradition of giving back to the communities we serve, increasing access to organic and natural products, and successfully operating our co-op in an increasingly competitive market. 

We also worked with our union to enhance our long-standing commitment to our staff. We’re proud that we could increase wages across all staff levels and ensure that our co-op will continue to offer outstanding benefits to all staff who work 28 hours a week or more. 

We held the co-op’s first all-staff meetings in our stores to create a stronger bond and more open communications with our staff members. We hosted food-packing parties for local food banks, and we worked tirelessly to keep the conversation around food transparency alive in the face of changes at the federal level. I hope you find in this report many examples and stories that reinforce that PCC continues to live its values.  

And for those interested in the numbers and data, I highlight three accomplishments: 

• We returned $7.3 million to our members, community and staff, and retained $3.4 million in net income, totaling 3.9% of net sales, for our co-op. 

• We expanded Field Day, our line of pocketbook-friendly organic and non-GMO pantry staples (like extra virgin olive oil, beans, crackers, pasta and sauces, and broth). In turn, we helped our members and shoppers save more than $950,000 in 2017. 

• We finished our year with $275.5 million in sales, down 0.4% from 2016, with same store sales up 1.7% — quite an accomplishment considering we closed our West Seattle store for redevelopment in May 2017. 

Of course, the measure of our co-op’s success is not the accumulation of numbers and data within this report. The real test is when you, and members and shoppers like you, choose PCC. My hope is that what you see here helps you make that decision, each time you shop, with confidence.


Cate Hardy Signature

– Cate Hardy, PCC Community Markets CEO


A Letter from the Board of Trustees

This is the co-op’s second annual Co-op Purposes Report. We were looking for a better way to demonstrate to our members how important it is to be accountable to them. This report is another example of our focus on principles that matter. While the traditional year-end report focuses primarily on finances, our co-op adheres to a triple bottom line, which means social and environmental goals are as important as our finances. (Although we must still be successful financially in order to continue to exist.) Cate Hardy, our CEO, has provided in her letter some of our highlights in all three areas. 

We are focused on how PCC does its business in the future. The retail grocery business has changed rapidly in the past year, becoming more challenging with more competitors entering our marketplace. We are laying the groundwork for PCC to grow in this marketplace, with our newest location, Burien PCC, opening in May 2018, and additional stores coming in the next three years to Madison Valley, Ballard and downtown Seattle, in addition to reopening our West Seattle store.

We are blessed in that we are a co-op and responsible to our members, not to Wall Street — we can focus on principles that matter. When we closed West Seattle PCC for redevelopment in May 2017, co-op management offered roles within the co-op to each of the staff. In traditional retail, a more common practice would be to eliminate those roles and lay off staff.

We were looking for a better way to be accountable to our members for the full scope of our co-op’s mission to create a cooperative, sustainable environment for our members and patrons in which the natural and organic supply chains thrive. This report provides an avenue to do that. Within, you’ll find new goals that management is setting in partnership with the Board of Trustees to help our co-op achieve our mission.

In this same spirit, the board restructured the co-op’s governance, adopting more effective policies for how the Board of Trustees conducts business on behalf of our member/owners. We have reduced the number of board meetings and changed the time of day that we meet. Previously, we met seven times per year for a few hours in the evening (after both the board and staff already worked during the day). Now we meet quarterly, with all-day committee and board meetings. Committees also were restructured (Finance Committee became the Audit and Finance Committee, CEO Evaluation Committee became the Management Development and Compensation Committee, Member Relations Committee became the Governance and Membership Committee, and a new committee was established – Social and Environmental Committee). All committees continue to meet more frequently to facilitate the board’s purposes.

We are proud to continue the efforts of members, the board, management, staff, providers and producers, shoppers, and the many stakeholders who help make our co-op such an important community resource in the greater Seattle area. Thank you for being a member and continuing to support the largest consumer food co-op in the country.


Michael Hutchings & Sandy Voit

co-chairs, PCC Board of Trustees