PCC Community Markets said late Friday that CEO Cate Hardy is leaving the co-op to become CEO of The Wine Group, the second largest winemaker in the world.

Her last day at the co-op will be July 3, but longtime PCC board member Brad Brown will step in as interim CEO on May 29.

“The board will immediately begin a search for PCC’s next CEO,” spokeswoman Kristen Woody said in an email. Hardy was not immediately available for comment.

The longtime Puget Sound retailer has 13 stores, with several more in the works.

Wine Group chairman Richard Mahoney said in an email that Hardy, currently on the company’s board of directors, will take the CEO post this fall, succeeding retiring CEO Brian Vos.

The Wine Group, based in Livermore, California, is privately owned and sells a bevy of popularly priced brands including Cupcake, Franzia, Chloe, Seven Deadly Zins, and Almaden. Mahoney, who declined to disclose its revenue or employee numbers, said Wine Group produces more than 50 million cases a year, making it the world’s second largest producer by volume. It operates wineries in California, New York and Australia, but none in Washington.


Woody said Hardy’s departure doesn’t change any of the co-op’s plans. “We are committed to providing a safe experience for our staff, members and shoppers as we face the current challenges of this pandemic and we remain on track to open stores in the Central District and Bellevue this year.”

In January, PCC said it would open an 18,000-square-foot Central District store anchoring a 144-unit apartment development at the fast-changing intersection of 23rd Avenue and East Union Street within the next six months. The previously planned tenant, New Seasons Market, pulled out of Seattle after a tumultuous three-year run.

PCC, started in 1953 and now in the midst of a major growth spurt, has some 70,000 members who shopped at its stores last year, Hardy said in a January interview. PCC last year changed its membership model for the first time in 15 years. Now, people who pay for a $60 co-op membership will receive a 2% dividend to be paid in the first quarter of 2021 for purchases made this year, rather than a complicated system of monthly discounts. The stores are also open to nonmembers.