More than 50 people gathered Friday night outside KwikStop Market & Liquor in Wildomar for a candlelight vigil to remember the store’s owner, Yonghye You.
“I feel the community has lost a truly remarkable woman,” said Murrieta resident Mike Ainsworth who has been a longtime KwikStop patron.
As the You family wiped tears and shared hugs, Ainsworth and other neighbors offered their thoughts about the 51-year-old shopkeeper, whose tragic death at the store late on the night of March 27 has left a void in the community. With their lit candles reflecting off KwikStop’s temporarily closed glass doors and windows, the gatherers described You as a bright and cheerful spirit who made everyone feel welcome in her store.
“She was a beautiful soul. I just adored her,” said Wildomar resident Eva Maher, a longtime friend.
Maher said she has lived in the community for nearly 20 years and had come to know You as a close confidant, explaining that she visited KwikStop located at 32395 Clinton Keith Road two to three times a day to chat with the petite storeowner about life and kids. When the market didn’t open March 28, she realized there was a problem.
“I called Yonghye and there was no answer. I knew something was wrong,” she said.
All who spoke Friday said what they treasure most about You is what she offered to the community: a positive, sweet attitude.
“She was always smiling and working her little hinny off,” one woman recalled.
Ainsworth said he felt he’d lost a friend, even though he was only a store patron.
“When you shake someone’s hand, there is a human being there,” he said. “It does mean something.”