Small businesses stick together: help woman recollect lost money

KINGMAN – Yolanda Portillo had no idea what was in store for her when she was called down to Gracie’s Vintage to see some things that might interest her.

It all started when Jason Marino of Imagine Photography saw the story about Portillo losing the money in The Daily Miner. He then went onto the What’s Up Downtown Kingman Facebook group, where he published a post saying if 40 local businesses all donated $50 then Portillo could get her money back.

“It’s a simple gesture,” Marino said. “I’m always happy to give back to the community,”

Marino and Leah Burkhart of Gracie’s Vintage teamed up to help Portillo with the $2,000 she had lost in the Smith’s parking lot on the evening of Feb. 16.

Since then Burkhart had been accepting donations at her store either in person or through PayPal. All week people dropped off money. Burkhart said they reached 75 percent of their goal.

“We look out for each other,” Burkhart said. “Small business needs to stick together.” The exciting part, Portillo wasn’t aware about the generous gesture other local business owners had planned for her. Marino and Burkhart had Portillo come by Gracie’s Vintage store on Thursday to surprise her with the money.

“We have a surprise for you,” Burkhart said. As Burkhart prepared to tell Portillo the news and hand over the $1,495 dollars collected, curiosity and confusion fell upon Portillo’s face.

Burkhart then explained to Portillo how local business owners got together to help her get back money she lost. Portillo immediately felt gratitude and appreciation as tears filled up her eyes.

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Yolanda Portillo was surprised and thrilled by the generosity of local business owners to help her recollect her lost money. (Photo by Vanessa Espinoza/Daily Miner)

“Y’all are angels,” Portillo said when Burkhart handed her the white envelope with the money.

She was overly thankful for all the generous business owners that came together and donated money. After losing the money it caused a lot of stress, Portillo said.

She can make her car payment and pay her rent for her new boutique.

“There are angels in this world,” Portillo said.

About 20 local businesses such as Southwest Trading Co., Black Sheep Ink and Piercing, Kingman Animal Hospital, The Farmhouse, Black Bridge Brewery, and other businesses came together and donated money to help Portillo.

“I’ve been living in Kingman for 15 years,” Portillo said. “And I would never go anywhere else.”