retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

I was interested to read that the Pike Place Market in Seattle - a place that, if you’ve never visited it, you should (and then wander down to Etta’s during the evening to visit with Morgan, the best bartender on the planet) - is rebranding and reintroducing a community-supported agriculture (CSA) program, dubbed “Pike Box.”

As the Seattle Post Intelligencer writes, “Subscribers will be able to pick up boxes ‘packed full of fruits and veggies sourced directly from Pike Place Market farmers and grown in Washington state’ from the new MarketFront plaza, according to a news release. ‘You'll also receive specialty farm products (like honey and spice blends), delicious recipes, storage tips and easy preparation ideas’.”

That’s all good. Not unique, of course - there are numerous versions of this around the country, some of them even engineered by supermarkets that recognize the importance of connecting their customers with the farmers who are the source of products. It is a great concept.

But what really intrigued me - and I have no idea how common this is - was the notion that “the Pike Box offers adjustable pricing based on income. Households earning more than $40,000 pay $24 per regular-share box, and households making less pay less.

That’s a tough concept to introduce into a more traditional retail environment, but I admire both the mindset and the implementation. They hook into the idea that farmers see their goal not just as growing and selling, but as nourishing.

It’s an Eye-Opener.
KC's View: