PCC 2013 Annual Report

From the management team

Over the past six decades, PCC has evolved into the nation’s largest consumer-owned and operated natural foods retailer. At year-end, sales at our nine stores topped $200 million, and we had more than 52,000 members and 1,100 employees. These numbers show where we are today; a look back shows how far we've come.

In the 1950s, economy-minded households formed buying clubs to qualify for wholesale prices on bulk food purchases. In 1953, a club was started to serve residents of the Seattle Co-op Housing Association. Operated by John and Ruth Affolter out of their home in southeast Seattle, the club moved with them in 1957 to the May Valley Co-op Community in Renton, Washington.

In late 1960, 15 families agreed to organize the Renton club as a cooperative, each investing one dollar. The new entity — Puget Consumers Co-op — opened for business in February 1961. A member bulletin, precursor of the Sound Consumer, was started to inform members about co-op news and products, and consumer issues. Sales in PCC’s first year were just over $5,000.

During PCC’s early years, members could buy bulk food, automotive supplies and even insurance services. Product inventory was maintained at the “Depot,” the Affolters' basement. Phoned-in orders were picked up at home-based stations throughout the greater Seattle area. Finally, PCC opened a storefront in 1967 in Seattle’s Madrona neighborhood. A real store, with regular shopping hours, brought about new members, products, pricing policies, and a big question: In what ways should PCC grow?

The answer, over time, was a careful expansion of PCC locations, following a path of sustainable practices and products. Despite a full share of growing pains, PCC has stayed true to the spirit and intent of our original bylaws, responding to member interests, advocating for consumers, supporting the communities we serve and providing a welcoming shopping experience for all. PCC’s priorities have not changed, even as we've grown. Our commitment to high product standards, excellent customer service, attractive and efficiently operated stores, and substantial investment in consumer education and community outreach programs has made it possible for us to conclude 60 years in business on solid financial ground. Last year, this included a 12 percent increase in sales, along with a 9.3 percent increase in member discount benefits.

Many factors have supported PCC’s growth and success over our long history, but the cornerstone of our co-op has always been our members. Thank you for your continuing membership and support. Together, we have every reason to look forward to the next 60 years.

Randy Lee
Chief Financial Officer

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