WORCESTER - For almost 50 years, customers have found local and organic gourmet foods at Living Earth Market in Worcester.

Albert Maykel and his wife started the business in 1971. Maykel says they were unable to find the food they were looking for in the city and opening their own store made the most sense. 

"We just couldn't find foods where you could read the ingredients in the label and we couldn't find organic things. So, we decided to do our own thing," Maykel said. 

According to Maykel, the organic food scene has grown over the years and the market owners' goal has always been to help provide people with healthy choices. 

"We're very proud. We've had almost 50 years in business," Maykel said. "That we were one of the pioneers, and we've seen our baby develop into what it is today."

Maykel announced this week that the store is closing at the end of the month. He said he and his wife are looking forward to retirement. 

"People say are you going out because of competition and I'm proud to say that we created the competition. We created an industry in it's infancy that has become mainstream," Maykel said.

Longtime customers say they're saddened by the closing, but happy for the Maykels. 

Sue Pervier told Spectrum News 1, "It's sad for everyone that came here."

"It has a small community feel to it. I've talked to the owner before. They've always help me get items you can't get at Whole Foods," said Alisha Kaiser. 

Maykel said, "It's just heartwarming to realize we touched that many people throughout our history."