If there was a word to describe Tralona “Lona” Bartkowiak, it was Umba, Balinese for “sisters” and the namesake of her clothing and accessories shop in south Boulder.
She owned Umba Love with her sister, Leesah Noble, and the business was home to the 49-year-old Bartkowiak’s passions for music, creative imports and an overall sense of life and happiness, friends said.
Bartkowiak was one of the 10 people fatally shot at a Boulder King Soopers grocery store on Monday afternoon.
“She was vibrant and positive and happy,” said Christopher, a business owner who met the Los Angeles native years ago on his first day in Boulder. He didn’t want his last name used “because it’s about Lona, not about me.”
“She was an amazing human being, I just saw her a couple of days ago, showing nothing but kindness and love to me, like always,” Christopher said.
The two forged a friendship when he opened his first coffee shop next door to Umba Love at 2043 Broadway. They visited daily. His new shop, Caffe Sole, is in the same shopping center as the King Soopers.
Bartkowiak was even brighter in recent months because of a new relationship, Christopher said.
“She was very tied into the music and festival scene here,” he said. “Everyone knew her.”
The Umba Love website notes that the business has a relationship with more than 100 local designers, as well as a family-run organic farm in southern Oregon.
Efforts to reach Bartkowiak’s family members were unsuccessful. Photos on her personal Facebook page show a lively woman who traveled to far-off places.
Bartkowiak friend Edica Pacha posted on Facebook: “She was the kindest and sweetest lady you ever did know. All she wanted to do was help and share beauty with others.”
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