Battle Ground businesses share a wall and now share a bond
BATTLE GROUND — They share a wall.
They share professional courtesy, running their businesses side-by-side for years.
Until recently, the owners did not know each other, except enough to say hello to one another in passing.
One business puts its heart and soul into making fine Mexican food.
The other puts its heart and soul into the artistry of tattoos.
On the outside, not much in common.
A deeper look will show a connection between Five-Star Tattoo and Las Mesitas Restaurant in Battle Ground.
A connection that is strengthened by community.
Las Mesitas, like so many in the restaurant industry, was already struggling during the pandemic. Then the restaurant had another financial setback when it appears owners were taken by a con game.
Vicente and Nacha Ramos, and their children Guadalupe and Gabriela Ramos, have been in business for more than 25 years. The shutdown allowed for time to make repairs and/or upgrades. The restaurant sent out its older booths for refurbishing and pre-paid for a lot of the work. The booths were never returned.
When Gabriela offered to pick up the booths, she was told the booths were gone. Then there was no more communication.
“We went and looked for him,” she said.
First the pandemic. Then the victim of an alleged crime. While legal proceedings might be in the future, for now, the restaurant is out of that money, plus it needs to purchase new booths.
When Five-Star Tattoo heard about this, it went straight into fundraising mode.
“In the past, we’ve been pretty successful doing fundraisers at the shop,” said Ann McClintock, who owns Five-Star with her husband Justin “Spider” McClintock.
A few years ago, the tattoo shop raised funds for an employee whose son had a major medical scare. The shop helped pay off the bill.
“We have a modest platform in our area, in a small town, because we’ve been here for a long time,” Ann McClintock said. “We like the idea that we sort of leverage that modest platform to do some good where we can do some good.”
And that employee the tattoo company helped a few years ago? Jamie Rainey now runs her own business, Rainey Day Printing in Yacolt.
Ann McClintock called Jamie Rainey, and they set it up. Five-Star Tattoo would pay for the materials for a new T-shirt, Rainey Day Printing would donate its services, and all proceeds from the sales of the shirts would go to the restaurant.
“It was kind of a no-brainer,” Rainey said, noting that both businesses are “huge” in the community, always doing things for the community.
“Justin and Ann could ask me to paint my house purple, and I’d say, ‘OK’ just because they are awesome people,’’ Rainey said. “Absolutely I was on board.”
The shirts have the Five-Star logo on the front as well as a heart on the sleeve. The heart is made of chili peppers in honor of the restaurant. On the back, in Spanish, “Love your neighbor.”
Ann posted the plan on social media, getting the word out to their customers.
“We’ve always had this incredible community. Our customers are incredible,” Ann said. “They have opened their pocketbooks, their hearts. Whenever we ask anything of them, they have always responded with more than what we had hoped for. In this case, they’ve done it again.”
“It’s immediate, too,” Spider said. “They responded immediately.”
Within just a few days, 5-Star Tattoo raised its goal of $1,500. By the end of this week, they expect to give Las Mesitas at least $2,000.
“We’re hoping it can help them a little bit,” Ann said.
The Ramos family did not even know of the fundraiser until just a few days ago. Yes, the money will help, but it is so much more than the money. It was this act of love from their business neighbors that meant the world to them.
“We’re very thankful and really shocked,” Gabriela said. “Coming from a bad situation, someone takes your money and runs, and then turning around and hearing about these amazing people who are doing what they are doing for us. …
“When we told our parents, I mean, waterworks.”
It was Guadalupe who called his sister with the news first. Gabriela cried tears of joy.
“To go from a bad situation to a good situation is very heartwarming,” Gabriela said, noting that she no longer lives in Battle Ground but comes back often, visiting the family business, of course. “I miss this town. I miss the people and neighbors. So thank you. Thank you so much.”
Ann McClintock said Five-Star Tattoo was just the vehicle to get the process started. It was the community that stepped in and bought the shirts and/or donated cash to the project.
“The world is heavy right now, and we’re all tired of it,” she said. “We’re all revitalized when we can step in and help.”