PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – It’s always sad for a neighborhood when a local business shuts down but the closing of Germ books in Fishtown is causing mourning in a much wider community.

A recent Thursday at Germ and the regular meeting of the UFO group took on a somber air. This would be the last meeting at Germ, which have been a haven and a resource not just for those who believe in extra-terrestrial life but for all kinds of off-beat theorists, artists and fans.

“Germ really did become an institution that wasn’t just known in Philadelphia but around the world.”

Proprietor David Williams has announced the store will close January 31st. He prefers not to dwell on the reasons but on the impact the store has made in its six years, in opening minds and helping non-mainstream ideas find a home.

“It’s a different world than it was when we opened up and we want to think that we contributed to the availability of that information now more freely outside of Germ.”

But patrons aren’t so sure:

“This is definitely its own breed. I’m not quite sure there would be another place that has this.”

“Germ is more than just a book store, it’s a little community.”

“I’ll miss the place, I’ll miss Dave, I’ll miss everybody here and hopefully we’ll see them, if not now, maybe in another lifetime.”

Reported By Pat Loeb, KYW Newsradio.

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