Kress Market, a fixture of Downtown Long Beach for the last decade, bid farewell to the community last night with a party attended by a large crowd of well-wishers.

“From they very first day, they were warm, they were embracing,” customer Melissa Balderrama said of owners Hilda and Javier Ortiz. “It was like having my parents around us.”

Carole Sergy, President of the North Pine Neighborhood Alliance, fondly recalled how the market helped tie the local community together, hosting many nonprofit and campaign events and meetings.

Near the end of the party, which included a DJ and taco cart, both owners thanked everyone for their support.

“Nothing is forever,” Javier Ortiz said. Both he and Hilda spoke of their love for the store and its customers, but also the toll it had taken on their health and well-being.

Hilda Ortiz said that though she was sad to see the store close, she was much happier seeing the community’s love. She also said that she was proud of what she, an immigrant, had accomplished. Both she and Javier Ortiz emigrated from Mexico several decades ago.

The couple has said that they will remain in Long Beach.