PCC Community Markets buyers dive deep with tips for brands

PCC Community Market's Noah Smith and Steven Jamieson offer advice for brands seeking space on the retailer's shelves. Read more.

Douglas Brown, Senior Retail Reporter

March 6, 2024

2 Min Read
PCC Community Market Buyerside Chat takeaways

PCC Community Markets launched in 1953 as a group of 15 families who formed a food-buying club. Fast-forward more than 70 years, and the business now includes 15 stores scattered across the greater Seattle, Washington, area.

Along the way, PCC became one of the most respected natural foods stores in the United States. In addition, brands across the country and around the world work hard to earn space on PCC’s shelves.

To help brands gain a better understanding about how to become PCC partners, Natural Foods Merchandiser hosted the first of its year-long Buyerside Chat series with two key PCC team leaders: Noah Smith, grocery merchandiser, and Steven Jamieson, health and body care merchandiser. Both offered generous insights about how PCC works, and what brands can do to become part of the PCC brand family.

The Buyerside Chat webinar delivers more than 40 minutes of invaluable tips and advice for brands, from how to engage with buyers at Natural Products Expo West in March to the kinds of products Smith and Jamieson want to add to PCC’s inventory.

On the Expo West front, Smith and Jamieson said they’ll be searching for new products: cosmetics and shelf-stable probiotics for Jamieson; functional and non-alcoholic beverages for Smith. In particular, they want products engaged with the regenerative agriculture movement—especially brands with Regenerative Organic Certification.

The two Expo West veterans said brands should refrain from hard sells during the frenetic show: Engage with buyers, share the products’ stories once buyers approach the booth. If PCC is interested, buyers will leave business cards and request samples be sent in about a month.

Any time of year, understanding PCC’s rigorous standards is of the upmost importance. Organic is always preferred, as is Regenerative Organic Certified, which is built on an organic foundation. Approaching PCC’s buyers without a deep commitment to the planet and people is unlikely to be successful.

Pledging to support the brand through sampling and demos, marketing and more also elevates the chances of landing on PCC shelves. Education is vital in all aisles, from pantry to supplements to personal care. Brands that invest in it not only increase their odds of working with PCC, they also demonstrate their desire to remain on those shelves for more than a quarter or two. Products that don’t sell don’t last.

What about the plant-based meat category? Does it still resonate with PCC? Is PCC interested in any trends in supplements? How does PCC handle category disruptors, products that don’t fit into standard categories? What are tips for how buyers can develop strong relationships with PCC? 

To learn about these matters and much more, watch the webinar on demand.

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About the Author(s)

Douglas Brown

Senior Retail Reporter, New Hope Network

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