Boutique in SF's Mission District destroyed once by fire, now faces closure from COVID-19

Her daughter says her mom worked so hard, she remembers "sleeping on the couches of the restaurant because I had to go to school the next day. Little by little she was saving, saving, saying we're going to have this dream - make it a reality."
SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A woman immigrated to San Francisco from El Salvador and put everything she has into her boutique in the Mission District. She lost it once to a fire, rebuilt, and now is facing closure again after not having any luck getting a loan or grant.

Reyna Portillo and her mother Delmy run Kosa Bella boutique off 22nd and South Van Ness. Reyna recalled how hard her mother had to work to open the boutique 14 years ago.

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"She worked at a store in the day time and then she worked at night cleaning a restaurant over at Burlingame," Portillo said. I remember sleeping on the couches of the restaurant because I had to go to school the next day. Little by little she was saving, saving, saying we're going to have this dream- make it a reality."

Delmy was able to open her boutique off Mission Street and 22nd, but a fire in 2015 destroyed everything.

"The whole thing caught on fire, we lost everything. We lost all the inventory, everything was gone," Reyna said.

Reyna said it's devastating not knowing what they're going to do or what will happen next.

"It's happening again, at first it was the fire, and now it's the pandemic, and it's affected us a lot," Delmy said.

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They were forced to close their doors for three months because of COVID-19. They said they applied for loans, but no luck, so they hope a fundraiser will help.

"We launched a fundraiser to see if we can pay some of the bills we have - pay our rent," Reyna said.

Reyna has learned how to upload the store online, so customers can make purchases that way. She hopes she can continue her mom's dream.

"The same way my mom raised me showing me hard work can pay off, is the same way I want to show my baby. It's our American dream," Reyna said.

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