Schlepping in Seattle Or Hooray for PCC

Somehow I thought they would look different. Must have been because that the Seattle neighborhood I was staying in, the Green Lake area, was inundated by so many joggers, roller bladders and bicyclists, that I thought Seattle-ites blood was made of Clif Bars and that the supermarkets here would be leading the way in the integration of natural foods into the mainstream.

As my friend would say, to her mother WRONG –O Mary Lou!

The two Safeway stores I visited were standard all the way: depressing and unimaginative and the Albertson’s was even worse. To put it another and more accurately way, they were like supermarkets all over America. They just didn’t get it.

Yet a local cooperative grocery, PPC Natural Supermarkets was something else. A store that reminded what the opportunity for continued growth in the face of corporate stores (both WFM and Wal-Mart) can look like. Six stores that sprouted from a few families that formed a buying club in 1953 looks like a model for future markets hoping to create affordable, organic and sustainable alternatives.

So here’s to the model of local small grocers leading the way.

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