Co-op corner: 2018 Business of the Year

This article was originally published in January 2019

We’re delighted to report that PCC was awarded as the Best Business of the Year among midsize companies in 2018, an honor bestowed by Seattle Business Magazine, which hosts the annual Community Impact Awards.

The Community Impact Awards honor businesses and organizations across Washington that provide strong, tangible benefits to local communities. The award considers criteria that promote social goals, such as job creation, workforce development, and business models. PCC is honored to be recognized in the 2018 Community Impact Awards and attributes much of our achievement to our cooperative business model.

Our community has helped make us who we are. Our commitment to the community has been with us from the very beginning — from the founding of PCC by 15 families in 1953. As a cooperative, we remain member-owned and dedicated to supporting social and environmental community initiatives. After receiving this award, we reflected on some of the highlights that have helped shape our story.

During the 1970s and 1980s, PCC became a leader in the organic and natural food space, helping to lay the foundation for the strong organic supply chain we enjoy today. We supported other cooperative ventures to help regional organic producers thrive. In 1973 we helped start Seattle’s P-Patch community garden program, eventually leading to 88 gardens located across the city today.

In 1983 PCC launched Foodworks! to provide cooking and nutrition education in our community. That program is now PCC Cooks, offering 1,600 classes a year.

In 1999 PCC founded the PCC Farmland Fund, now PCC Farmland Trust. Today, PCC Farmland Trust has preserved 23 farms — more than 2,500 acres — across Washington state. Though the Farmland Trust is now its own nonprofit organization, PCC maintains our dedication to farmland preservation, committed to donate $1 million by 2020.

In 2013 PCC launched our bagged apple program, funding food and nutrition programs for children across the region. To date, we’ve donated a total of more than $267,800 from the proceeds of these bagged apple sales.

In 2017 we changed our name to PCC Community Markets to reflect the importance of community to our identity. That year PCC returned 57 percent of its profits to members and contributed an additional 11 percent to organizations in the communities it serves, including schools and nonprofits around the Puget Sound region.

Finally, the passion and dedication of PCC staff is integral to how we operate and who we are. The longevity of our staff is rare in an industry that generally has a very high turnover, with almost 20 percent of PCC staff working with us for more than 10 years.

PCC’s 2018 Community Impact Award marks an achievement of the whole PCC community. Thank you for helping us to grow and thrive.

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