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Downtown’s Kress Market to close, ending its run as a beloved deli and community space

Javier and Hilda Ortiz, owners of Kress Market at their store in Long Beach Thursday, May 27, 2021. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova. The couple will be closing the store this weekend.

Kress Market, located on the ground floor of the historic Kress Building on Pine Avenue, will be closing its doors for good on Sunday.

In its 10 years in business, the market has served as a community meeting space and a popular event location for local political candidates and nonprofits, in addition to selling organic food and products from Long Beach-based companies.

“It was natural,” co-owner Javier Ortiz said. “We like people; we like to help people. It was our idea to expose people to good food and get involved with the community.”

Elliot Gonzales, a local political activist, worked at Kress Market from 2010 to 2012. “They were one of those small businesses that got us through the recession,” Gonzales said. “It was part of the community in that it brought people together.”

Javier and Hilda Ortiz, owners of Kress Market, stand in one of the food isles of the store in Long Beach Thursday, May 27, 2021. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova. The couple will be closing the store this weekend.

Several political candidates, including State Sen. Lena Gonzalez and 1st District Councilwoman Mary Zendejas held campaign events at Kress Market.

“It was so much more than just a business,” Gonzalez said. “They’ve been so involved with local government, with trying to keep Pine Avenue alive.”

But the past 10 years of manual labor have taken a toll on the health of 59-year-old Hilda Ortiz, her husband noted. “She’s always in pain,” Javier Ortiz said. So the couple decided that it was time to close the market and deli.

Following her retirement from the daily grind of the store, Hilda Ortiz is hoping to spend more time with her mother, who lives in the state of Guerrero in southwest Mexico, Javier Ortiz said. Both Javier and Hilda Ortiz immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico several decades ago. They met in Riverside, later moved to Pico Rivera and finally, Long Beach.

The couple plans to stay in Downtown Long Beach, where they bought a condo three years ago, just a few steps away from the market. “We love Long Beach,” Javier Ortiz said.

On their last day of business, Sunday, May 30, the Ortiz’s will host a farewell party with music and a taco cart from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in front of the market at 443 Pine Ave.

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