PCC Community Markets to Close Downtown Seattle Store
SEATTLE, November 1, 2023 – PCC Community Markets (PCC or “the co-op”), a community-owned grocery cooperative in the Puget Sound region, today announced that its store in Downtown Seattle at 4th and Union will close permanently on January 31, 2024.
“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,” said 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 opening in January of 2022, 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. 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.
“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,” said Srinivasan. PCC employs nearly 80 staff at the Downtown store and will prioritize their placement in other roles within the co-op by offering staff positions at other stores.
The Downtown PCC lease was signed in 2018, and the original opening date in 2021 was postponed to 2022 because of general conditions in the area following the onset of the pandemic. Like most retailers since 2020, PCC has been navigating a complex business landscape that has seen a rapid increase in cost of goods, inflation-driven impacts on the cost of living, and challenges with staff retention and public safety.
The co-op posted lackluster results in 2021, and an operating loss in 2022; 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.
PCC Community Markets is grateful to the Downtown staff and store leadership for delivering an amazing shopping experience since the grand opening, and for their unwavering commitment to the store. The co-op also appreciates its loyal customers, including 115,000 members, for their continuing patronage and support of vibrant, local, organic and community food systems across PCC’s 15 other stores in the region, including seven in the City of Seattle.
PCC thanks its partners at the City of Seattle, its landlord Wright Runstad, the Seattle Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Seattle Association for their tremendous support and collaboration. The collective steadfastness that these partners showed in support of PCC has been humbling.
Energized by the work ahead, and knowing that actions speak louder than words, the co-op’s mission is what both stewards and sustains PCC for the long haul. By staying true to its purpose and listening to staff and members, PCC expects to continue serving our region for many years to come.