- PCC Community Markets has named veteran food retailing executive Suzanne Monford as its next president and CEO, the Seattle-area grocery cooperative announced Wednesday.
- Monford has spent the past three years at Kroger, serving most recently as the grocery chain’s group vice president of e-commerce. In that role, Monford worked on go-to-market strategies for Kroger’s partnership with U.K. robotics company Ocado.
- Monford’s deep background working for Kroger and other large grocers positions her to run PCC, which has developed a national reputation for its ambitious efforts to scale up its operations and serve as a trendsetter while also retaining a heavy local focus.
Monford’s appointment to lead PCC puts her in charge of a fast-growing, community-focused retailer that has sought to set itself apart by focusing on sustainability and a strong focus on the communities where it operates.
She will replace interim CEO Brad Brown, who has led PCC since June, when Cate Hardy left the position. Hardy joined PCC from Starbucks in 2015, when the co-op was still known as PCC Natural Markets. The retailer changed its name to PCC Community Markets in 2017 as it looked to expand its offerings and double down on its connection to the Seattle area.
Monford decision to join PCC brings her back to the West Coast, where she ran Kroger’s Quality Food Centers (QFC) division in Washington and Oregon from 2017 to 2019. As head of the 65-store QFC group, Monford led a campaign to eliminate single-use plastic bags and helped launch a new flagship store in Kirkland, Washington, last year. She also oversaw the launch of delivery service at QFC stores and led fresh food operations at Kroger when the grocer rolled out its Fresh for Everyone brand platform.
Monford’s previous experience includes serving as CEO of Andronico’s Community Markets in the San Francisco Bay Area and working for a pair of supermarket chains in Australia. She began her supermarket career at Texas grocer H-E-B.
PCC has grown rapidly in recent years, expanding its store count by half during Hardy's tenure and bolstering its image as a supplier of naturally sourced food provided by local farmers, ranchers, fishers and other producers.
In August, PCC opened its 15th store in Bellevue, Washington, and it announced in December that its store in the Seattle neighborhood of Ballard had become the first grocer in the world to receive the Living Building Challenge Petal Certification, a certification that recognizes buildings that are especially environmentally friendly. The chain, which traces its roots to 1953 and is the largest community-owned food market in the United States, has two locations in the planning stages.
The grocer also intends to relocate its location in Kirkland, Washington, next year to a new site that is 30% larger than the one it will replace. The new store will feature a seafood-focused restaurant that resembles one now operating in the co-op’s Ballard location.