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Quality Food Centers, Inc.
FormerlyLake Hills Thriftway (1955–1963)
IndustryGrocery retail
FoundedNovember 26, 1905 (116 years ago) (1905-11-26) as Lake Hills Thriftway in Seattle, Washington, United States
FounderJack Croco
HeadquartersBellevue, Washington, U.S.
Number of locations
62 (2021)
Area served
Washington and Oregon
Key people
  • Christopher A. Sinclair (Chairman & CEO)
ProductsBakery, dairy, deli, frozen foods, gasoline, general grocery, meat, pharmacy, produce, seafood, snacks
RevenueIncrease $1 billion (2021)
Number of employees
5,900 (2021)

Quality Food Centers, better known as QFC, is a supermarket chain based in Bellevue, Washington, with 62 stores in the Puget Sound region of the state of Washington and in the Portland, Oregon, metropolitan area. QFC is a subsidiary of Kroger.


Jack Croco first started in the grocery business in Boise, Idaho, in the 1940s, working for Albertsons Supermarkets. By 1950, he had become the district manager in the Northwest and was responsible for opening the first Albertson's stores in the Seattle area. Soon afterward in 1955, he opened his own grocery store in Bellevue which was called Lake Hills Thriftway. The grocery concern that would come to be named QFC in 1963[1] was founded in 1955 with the first store at 6600 Roosevelt Way Northeast[1] by a group headed by Vern Fortin, the former president of Van de Kamp's Holland Dutch Bakeries and founder of Vernell's Fine Candies. Croco merged his store with QFC in 1960. He remained involved in the company until his death in 1991 at the age of 65,[2] though in 1986 he sold QFC to Seattle investment firm Sloan, Adkins & Co.[3] Sloan Adkins took QFC public in 1987.[1] Christopher A. Sinclair became the CEO in 1996. In 1997, QFC purchased the Uddenberg grocery company which operated Thriftway and Stock Market stores throughout western Washington. In late 1997, QFC was sold to Fred Meyer,[1] and a year and a half later in May 1998 Kroger acquired Fred Meyer and QFC.[4] The Roosevelt store remained open through May 5, 2012, when it was closed to make way for construction of the Roosevelt light rail station.[5]


Over the years, QFC has expanded aggressively through acquisitions. When A&P Supermarkets abandoned the Seattle area in 1974, QFC took over several locations. They expanded to surrounding counties in the 1990s by acquiring and renaming Olson's Food Stores, Johnny's Food Centers, and Stock Market Grocery Stores as well as several Thriftway stores. Between 1990 and 1996, 30 stores were acquired from 11 different independent grocery chains.[6] Reed's Super Valu in Port Hadlock and Stock Market Foods in Port Townsend were acquired in 1997.[7][8] The company expanded into the Portland, Oregon, area as well.[9]

In the mid-1990s, QFC expanded to Southern California by acquiring Hughes Family Markets (which kept its name). By the mid-1990s, many Hughes store locations were sold to Ralphs, which soon was sold to Fred Meyer, before going to Kroger.[10] A new flagship store opened in downtown Kirkland in 2019, with 50,000 square feet (4,600 m2) of space.[11]

Philanthropy and controversy[edit]

In 1996, Stuart Sloan, former owner and chairman of QFC, promised to spend at least $1 million a year for the next eight years to overhaul one of Seattle Public Schools's most challenged schools, T.T. Minor Elementary. The funds were donated in addition to public dollars and helped to pay for uniforms, smaller class sizes and a year-round schedule, though the manner in which the funds were applied sparked controversy.[12][13]


  1. ^ a b c d Moriwaki, Lee (November 7, 1997). "Fred Meyer to Buy QFC". The Seattle Times. Archived from the original on August 9, 2018. Retrieved May 21, 2009.
  2. ^ Gorlick, Arthur (November 8, 1997). "QFC Grew from 4 Stores to Major Chain". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. p. A4.
  3. ^ Ramsey, Bruce (January 18, 1986). "QFC Grocery Stores to be Sold". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. p. A3. Retrieved May 21, 2009.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ Matassa Flores, Michele; Heim, Joe (October 20, 1998). "Attention Shoppers: We've Been Sold — Again". The Seattle Times. Archived from the original on August 9, 2018. Retrieved May 21, 2009.
  5. ^ Make room for light rail: Roosevelt QFC closure just weeks away Roosiehood, April 19, 2012
  6. ^ "Growing QFC Will Buy 25 Supermarkets". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. November 13, 1996. p. B8.
  7. ^ P-I Staff (May 20, 1997). "QFC Plans Expansion with Two New Food Stores Near Olympia". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. p. B4. Retrieved May 21, 2009.[permanent dead link]
  8. ^ P-I Staff (April 29, 1997). "Reed's Super Valu Bought by QFC; Employees to Stay". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. p. B5. Retrieved May 21, 2009.[permanent dead link]
  9. ^ P-I Staff (May 17, 1997). "QFC Plans to Enter Market In Portland With Two Stores". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. p. B8. Retrieved May 21, 2009.[permanent dead link]
  10. ^ Virgin, Bill (November 21, 1996). "QFC Buys Chain in California". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved May 21, 2009.[permanent dead link]
  11. ^ "QFC opens Kirkland Urban location, focuses on organic foods". Kirkland Reporter. August 1, 2019. Retrieved December 2, 2019.
  12. ^ Shukovsky, Paul (May 14, 1997). "Donation to School Criticized by League". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. p. B1. Retrieved May 21, 2009.[permanent dead link]
  13. ^ "Rethinking Sloan's Gracious Gift To School". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. May 16, 1997. p. A14.[dead link]

External links[edit]