Quality Food Centers, Inc.
FormerlyLake Hills Thriftway (1955–1963)
Company typeSubsidiary
IndustryGrocery retail
FoundedNovember 26, 1955 (1955-11-26) in Seattle, Washington, U.S.
FounderJack Croco
HeadquartersBellevue, Washington, U.S.
Number of locations
62 (2021)
Area served
Washington and Oregon
Key people
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, Inc., better known as QFC, is an American supermarket chain based in Bellevue, Washington, east of Seattle. It is a subsidiary of Kroger and has 62 stores in western Washington and northwestern Oregon, primarily located in the Puget Sound region and Portland–Vancouver metropolitan area.


Jack Croco began his career in the grocery business in the 1940s in Boise, Idaho, working for Albertsons. 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, Croco opened his own grocery store in Bellevue, called Lake Hills Thriftway.[citation needed]

The grocery chain that would come to be named QFC in 1963[1] was founded in 1955 with the first store at 6600 Roosevelt Way N.E. in Seattle[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, and 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] which took QFC public in 1987.[1]

Christopher A. Sinclair became the CEO in 1996; the following year, QFC purchased the Uddenberg grocery company, which operated Thriftway and Stock Market stores throughout western Washington. In late 1997, QFC was sold to Portland-based Fred Meyer,[1][4] and several months later in May 1998, Kroger announced its intention to acquire Fred Meyer (and QFC),[5][6] which was approved a year later. The Roosevelt store operated until 2012; it closed on May 5 to make way for construction of the Roosevelt light rail station.[7]

A Fred Meyer store at the Broadway Market on Seattle's Capitol Hill was replaced by a QFC in 2004.[8]


QFC's flagship store located in Kirkland, Washington

Over the years, QFC has expanded aggressively through acquisitions. When A&P 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, Stock Market Grocery Stores, and several Thriftway stores. Between 1990 and 1996, thirty stores were acquired from eleven independent grocery chains.[9] Reed's Super Valu in Port Hadlock and Stock Market Foods in Port Townsend were acquired in 1997,[10][11] and the company also expanded into Oregon in the Portland metro area.[12]

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 was soon sold to Fred Meyer, later acquired by Kroger.[13] A new flagship store opened in downtown Kirkland in 2019, with 50,000 square feet (4,600 m2) of space.[14]

Philanthropy and labor relations

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.[15][16]

Fred Meyer and QFC workers are primarily represented by UFCW Local 3000. After the union distributed Black Lives Matter buttons in 2020, Kroger managers prohibited their use by employees. The action was found to violate federal labor law by a National Labor Relations Board judge in May 2023.[17]


  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. ^ McCall, William (November 8, 1997). "Fred Meyer's big move shows firm's strength, stamina". Eugene Register-Guard. Associated Press. p. 5B.
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ Dunn, Christine (October 20, 1988). "Kroger in $12 billion deal to buy Fred Meyer". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. p. D1.
  7. ^ Make room for light rail: Roosevelt QFC closure just weeks away Roosiehood, April 19, 2012
  8. ^ Frey, Christine (June 15, 2004). "QFC store will replace Broadway's Fred Meyer". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved September 12, 2023.
  9. ^ "Growing QFC Will Buy 25 Supermarkets". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. November 13, 1996. p. B8.
  10. ^ 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]
  11. ^ 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]
  12. ^ 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]
  13. ^ Virgin, Bill (November 21, 1996). "QFC Buys Chain in California". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved May 21, 2009.[permanent dead link]
  14. ^ "QFC opens Kirkland Urban location, focuses on organic foods". Kirkland Reporter. August 1, 2019. Retrieved December 2, 2019.
  15. ^ Shukovsky, Paul (May 14, 1997). "Donation to School Criticized by League". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. p. B1. Retrieved May 21, 2009.[permanent dead link]
  16. ^ "Rethinking Sloan's gracious gift to school". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. May 16, 1997. p. A14.
  17. ^ Yoon-Hendricks, Alexandra (May 9, 2023). "Fred Meyer, QFC illegally barred BLM pins at work, judge rules". The Seattle Times. Retrieved May 20, 2023.