n 1971 John Croce, otherwise known as "Big John", began PFI out of the back of his car. With a wife and three children to feed, he took a leap of faith and started Pacific Food Importers. John began selling imported olives and feta cheese to Greek restaurants and being a son of Seattle's Garlic Gulch, he soon added Italian products to his repertoire of specialty foods.
John was well known in the community having served as Albert Rosellini's campaign manager, starting the local Boys Club in the Rainier Valley and as the owner of several grocery stores.
When word spread that Big John was selling delicious Italian and Greek cheeses, olives, figs, peppers, pasta, olive oil etc. to restaurants, retail customers began pounding on Big John's door and soon John opened once a week to retail shoppers.
Big John quickly outgrew the store front and after a couple of moves has settled the retail store on 6th Ave. South just south of Chinatown.
Over the years PFI has become a gathering place for food lovers where Big John offers advice on love, life, gardening and all things Italian.
PFI's mission is to provide excellent customer service, the highest quality products at the best prices and a little "old world flavor" to a sometimes stuffy business world.
PFI is a company with a heart and a soul and is very much like a family. We are reliable but not rigid. To Big John and his company, food is not just a way to earn a living, but a way of life. Perhaps Sophia Loren put it best when she said "Everything you see, I owe to spaghetti."
Our products :
We have such a large grocery selection that we don't pretend that this is an all-inclusive list of our inventory. If you're looking for something specific, please don't hesitate to call or e-mail us.
Cheese: Our selection of cheeses, which are predominantly of European origin, includes everything from the soft and gooey to the hard and salty; sheep, goat and even a few cow cheeses. Our cheese case is a must-visit destination all by itself.
Bulk Olives: We have a large selection of olives available in bulk behind our cheese counter. That selection varies with availability.
Our famous "bulk" section: Here you'll find grain, beans, herbs, spices, flour, sugar and nuts from all over the world. We have farro, barley, Caputo pizza flour, dried garbanzos, sumac, granulated garlic, Dutch-process cocoa powder, chipotles, star anise and much, much more. There is no minimum purchase in the bulk section - from a single nutmeg to 55 pounds of semolina: get what you need. You may bring your own containers (be sure to get their weights, though, so we don't charge you for them) or use our bags.
Meats: We have Prosciutto di Parma & Speck from Italy; Serrano Ham & chorizo from Spain; and salami & other cured meats from the United States. From little salamini secchi to hugely flavorful Finnochiona salami - we have the meats your antipasti plates or party platters need and the ones you crave. We also have soujouk and bastirma in stock as available. Note that while Big John's PFI does not slice meat, we do have a nice assortment of pre-sliced meats on offer
Olive Oil: Here on our shelves there is olive oil from Italy (including some lovely single-source ones from Sicily), Spain, France, Morocco, Lebanon, Greece and Israel. We have olive oils for nearly every budget. Our staff pride themselves on being able to help our customers find the perfect olive oil to fit their needs and culinary ambitions