- PCC Community Markets, a cooperative food market that operates in the Seattle area, plans to open a new store in Bellevue, Washington, on Aug. 12, according to a press release. The location, which will be PCC’s 15th, will be built with sustainably sourced materials and incorporate shelves and deli equipment that are reclaimed from other locations the co-op runs.
- The new, 26,000-square-foot store will adhere to PCC’s mission of emphasizing organic and locally sourced items. The location will carry a large variety of foods, health and body-care products sold in bulk; a wide selection of prepared foods; and a line of private-label foods, vitamins and supplements from local producers.
- PCC also plans to relocate a store it runs in Kirkland, Washington, in 2021 to a location that is 30% larger than the current site. The new, 19,000-square-foot market will feature a seafood-focused restaurant that will be similar to one the co-op currently operates at its store in Ballard, Washington.
PCC has spent decades cultivating its image as a locally-focused purveyor of natural and locally sourced goods and is again focusing on that narrative as it outlines its latest expansion plans. The co-op, which describes itself as the largest community-owned food market in the United States, emphasized in its announcement that its stores carry thousands of organic items and strive to sell products obtained from local farmers, ranchers, fishers and other suppliers.
As it works on its latest locations, the co-op is also drawing attention to its efforts to develop stores that pay homage to nature in how they are constructed, outfitted and run.
The co-op said it intends to seek the Living Building Challenge (LBC) Petal Certification, a rigorous green-building designation, for both the new store and the one it is relocating. According to the International Living Future Institute, which administers the LBC program, structures that are considered “living buildings” are designed so they “connect occupants to light, air, food, nature, and community.”
As part of the grocer’s effort to achieve the LBC designation, the Bellevue store will include refrigeration equipment that uses carbon dioxide, which the Environmental Protection Agency says is less detrimental to the world’s climate than the much more powerful greenhouse gases commonly used in cooling systems.
PCC has also been engaged in an effort to replace plastic deli packaging with compostable materials by 2022. That initiative saw the grocer, which has long used compostable packaging for many of the goods it sells, extensively test a variety of packaging to use for deli items before settling on products made from genetically modified corn.
The grocer, which has been operating in Seattle since 1953, is focused on building stores in the area. It opened its 14th location in Seattle's Central District in May. Last November, the co-op opened a store in the Ballard neighborhood with its first-ever restaurant, which served up seafood favorites alongside pints of beer. Each new PCC location includes an art installation created by a local artist.