Debra Stark, owner of Debra's Natural Gourmet located in Concord, MA, died on Monday, April 18 at the age of 75 of a heart attack at Emerson Hospital in Concord surrounded by family, according to a statement provided on the store's website. "We believe she died aware of the love and support that flowed toward her, from family, friends, and the larger community it was her life’s work to build and sustain," the statement read.
Stark was a longtime resident of Acton, MA. 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. Eventually, “the little store that could” grew, rising even to national prominence. Debra’s Natural Gourmet was named national Retailer of the Year in 2015 by Whole Foods Magazine, and Stark herself was named a natural products industry “Legend” by New Hope Network in 2016. Her professional memoir “The Little Store that Could” was (self)-published in 2019.
Stark is predeceased by her mother, Beatrice Lefer Stark and her father, Sidney Stark. She is survived by her son, Adam Stark; her daughter-in-law, Veena Ramani; her brothers, David and Daniel; and her granddaughter, Mira Beatrice.
Private memorial services will be held Sunday, May 1 at 11am, at Congregation Kerem Shalom in Concord. A public celebration of Stark's life will be held within the next few months.