Metro man raises thousands to help Plaza businesses with repairs after protests

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It’s Christmas in July for some Country Club Plaza businesses. Secret Santa showed up to pay for repairs at a handful of stores that are seeing hard times.

Some shops still have busted out windows from the protests back in May, but not if one local family can help it. 

“This was all Joe’s doing,” Joe’s father Benny Cardello said.

Joe Cardello and his family set out to restore hope — and windows — for small businesses on the Plaza. 

“He thought if he could raise enough money to at least cover their deductible that would be a big help, which it was to a lot of people down here,” Benny said.

Benny owns Plaza Hair Designs and knows just how difficult it can be to cover an unexpected repair bill. 

Someone broke into his shop during the protests. Benny said rioters also stole his tools — razors, scissors and clippers that he hadn’t been touched in weeks because of the pandemic, which forced them to shutdown for awhile. 

“It’s not fair to them and they’re gonna lose out on all that revenue that they would normally get,” Joe said. “So I just thought it would be a nice gesture to help, and friends and the community and a lot of business associates came together, and they all thought the same thing.”

The family raised about $11,000 online for local businesses. Donors were people Joe didn’t even know. 

“Some people donated 10 bucks, 5 bucks, 50 bucks, 500 bucks,” Joe said smiling. “I mean, it was amazing!”

That generosity surprised the owner of Salon Sophia. Ron Aramoon got a check for nearly $2,000.

“I was so happy,” he said. “It paid for the damage, and we didn’t have to come up with the money, and we were really struggling after the pandemic.”

Six other businesses received similar donations.

Aramoon said it finally felt like they weren’t in this alone. 

“You have community behind you, which is a lot. It meant a lot to me,” Aramoon said. “Some guy comes in and breaks my window. The other guy comes in and wants to fix it! That’s huge, and we really want to thank them.”

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