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Small business owner killed in King Soopers shooting described as giving, kind

Tralona Bartkowiak owned Umba on the Pearl Street Mall with her sister.

BOULDER, Colo. — A memorial of flowers and candles is growing outside Umba in Boulder to honor and remember its 49-year-old owner Tralona Bartkowiak.

“Lonna had probably the brightest light I have ever met in a human being," said Stacy Dixon, who is a good friend and former roommate of hers. She was planning to get married soon, according to Dixon.

Bartkowiak was one of the 10 people killed Monday when an armed man entered a Boulder King Soopers store. Lonna, as she was known by friends, owned the store on the Pearl Street Mall in downtown along with her sister.

"Every time I walked in it felt like family. Felt like a part of home," said Boulder resident Nicholas Pollio who shopped at the store. The last time he was there was over the weekend.

RELATED: These are the 10 people killed in the Boulder King Soopers shooting

"It was relieving to come here and know she was so loved," he said as he stood outside the store looking at the tributes placed there to honor her.

All those items outside offer a little bit of healing for Dixon during a dark time. 

"Giving and kind and uplifting and just really inspiring in how giving she was," she said. "When the community comes together to help carry it, it can be lighter. There is a sense of compassion."

Lonna and her sister took trips to Thailand, according to Dixon, to support local women there by bringing their crafts back to Boulder to sell them.

Credit: KUSA
Tralona Bartkowiak, 49, was one of 10 people killed in a mass shooting March 22 at a Boulder King Soopers.

Sammy Sowa, owns Clean Your Dirty Face, a business that's located right across the street from Umba. He too is feeling the loss.

"You feel bad for her, her family and her clients and customers. But you see there is so much love for her," he said. "All of these innocent people, who were such great people that lost their lives."

RELATED: Boulder King Soopers shooting: Everything we know so far

Sowa said he plans to donate a portion of this week's profits to the victims' families.

"Once you see there are other people feeling the same way and having the same emotional battle, all of a sudden you are fighting together," said Pollio.

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