We are saddened to report the death of our founder, namesake, and soul, Debra Stark. She suffered a heart attack on Saturday April 16, and passed peacefully on Monday April 18 at Emerson Hospital, surrounded by family.

We believe she died aware of the love and support that flowed towards her, from family, friends, and the larger community it was her life’s work to build and sustain.

She founded Debra’s Natural Gourmet in 1989, with loans from family, in about 1,000 square feet. In the early years, she regularly worked 80-hour weeks — cooked, cashiered, and stocked shelves — and made some epic mistakes. Slowly, slowly, “the little store that could” grew, rising even to national prominence. Debra’s was named national Retailer of the Year in 2015. Debra herself was named a natural products industry “Legend” soon thereafter. Her professional memoir “The Little Store that Could” was (self)-published in 2019.

She was a proud and loving sister, daughter, mother, mother-in-law, grandmother, and friend.

There’s probably more to be said, but we’re at a loss to say it right now.

Debra did not ask for any donations in her name. However, she personally supported numerous local hunger, environmental, and community organizations.

A private memorial service will be held Sunday May 1 at Congregation Kerem Shalom in Concord. The store will be closed that day. A larger, public celebration of her life will be held at a later date TBD this Spring or Summer.