Islanders create Grocery Store Survey, Facebook Group

June 13, 2015 | by Erin Sirianni

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Do you have a favorite grocery store that you wish would come to Mercer Island? You can share your vote today by participating in the Mercer Island Grocery Store Preference Survey.

The survey was created by the leadership team of the “Bring PCC to Mercer Island” Facebook group, originally founded four years ago by Islanders Craig and Jane Reynolds in support of their favorite grocer PCC Natural Markets. PCC is a natural food retail co-operative specializing in local, sustainable, and organic foods. It has 10 stores in the Puget Sound area.

PCC store interior |Photo by Lara Sanderson

Store interior of Issaquah PCC | Photo by Lara Sanderson

With Albertsons closing on Mercer Island, the Reynolds revived the group, which has grown from 25 members to over 700 in less than a week. More than 200 people have already filled out the survey.

“I think this creates a big opportunity for PCC,” Craig Reynolds said. “Our hope is that if we make enough noise, then they will give us some serious consideration for opening a branch here.”

The “Bring PCC to Mercer Island” leadership team, which have dubbed themselves the “Lucky 7,” includes islanders Jeff and Lara Sanderson, Lisa Porad, Yaffa Penski, and Jeff Becker, in addition to Craig and Jane.
While many names of grocers have been tossed around in various community conversations – Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Metropolitan Market, to name a few – the group believes PCC is the right choice for the island.

Lara Sanderson shared on Facebook: “[O]ur movement was started around PCC because they are local and a coop, which means member owned and not beholden to stockholders. It’s a model we’re passionate about. We believe they are the best fit, started right here in Puget Sound.”

Both Craig Reynolds and Sanderson, who have contacted PCC directly, have received responses from Cate Hardy, CEO of PCC Natural Markets. In an email response to Reynolds, Hardy stated: “We do want to be in every Puget Sound neighborhood that would like us and can support one of our stores. New store locations have to make solid economic sense, and one of the key factors is having sufficient members and shoppers in the area who know us and want us. For what it’s worth, you are not alone – we have heard from many people who would like to see a PCC on Mercer Island.” 

PCC will be soon opening a new store in Columbia City, approximately nine miles from Mercer Island, which is slightly closer than its next closest store in Issaquah, about 10 miles away. PCC is also working on getting a home delivery service started in the next year. Whether the organization can move fast enough to secure the Albertsons location over competitors is yet to be seen.

Islanders have reported answering phone surveys with general questions about grocery store preferences for the last nine months, suggesting that grocers have been doing serious research about whether a branch might be feasible here.

Mayor Bruce Bassett chimed in on Facebook to share that a discussion of the Albertsons closure has been added to the agenda for the City Council’s meeting on Monday, June 15th, at 7 pm. City staff will give a report on the status of the Albertsons site, which may provide some insight.

Reynolds will share the results of the grocery store survey in the next two to three weeks. In the mean time, he hopes PCC will continue to take notice of islanders’ enthusiasm and promise of support for the co-op.

“If we had a PCC on the island, we would do 90% of our shopping there, at least,” he said.

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