The thing about families is that no matter what, they always do their best to stick together. If you haven’t got your family, then who have you got?
One Houston man had just opened his very own donut shop, Billy’s Donuts, in what was meant to be one of the proudest days in his life. Unfortunately for Satharith By, nobody else got the memo, and he was left with a store filled with donuts, but not a customer in sight.
The day wasn’t a total bust for By though. Satharith’s young son, Billy, came along to save the day thanks to the one thing the younger generation understand more than most: social media. Billy could see the distraught look on his father’s face and could not stand for it, so he took action. One simple tweet, and hundreds of thousands of retweets later, Billy’s Donuts was thriving.
Here’s how one son’s tweet sent the internet into meltdown and filled an entire donut shop.
Donut Shop Near Houston
Satharith By had done all of the hard work, and Billy’s Donuts in Missouri City, Texas — which is about a 30-minute drive outside Houston — was looking exactly how he wanted it. Now it was time for the grand opening, but things didn’t get off to the start he would have wanted. By was eagerly awaiting the customers to come flooding in but the longer he waited, the more disappointed he became. Luckily there was a knight in shining and glazed armor waiting to help.
It was Saturday, Mar. 9, and the donut shop should have been filled with customers, but it seemed as though they couldn’t even give their goods away. Satharith’s son, Billy, was a part of his father’s big day. In fact, the sweet establishment, Billy’s Donuts, was actually named after the young member of the By family. For Billy, something had to change.
Finding An Advantage
Billy couldn’t have his father feeling so upset about his big opening, and he knew there was something he could do. If Billy’s Donuts was going to be a success, the young man the store was named after was going to have to help out. He called upon his Twitter followers to help his dad out, and the response was overwhelming.
Today there is a whole bunch of free publicity available to just about everyone, all you need to do is use social media to your advantage. Billy’s father was sad, so to try and cheer him up he took to Twitter to try and bring in some business. A donut shop is meant to be a place of happiness, especially one painted bright yellow, but Satharith wasn’t enjoying his big day.
This is my dad's new donut shop, idk why he painted the walls yellow pic.twitter.com/F7GbcKqYsi
— Billy's Donuts (@BillysDonuts) February 3, 2019
Turning The Frown Upside Down
With a sad dad on his hands, Billy took control of the donut shop’s Twitter account and began appealing to the masses. He sent out a tweet saying “My dad is sad cause no one is coming to his new donut shop.” Then Billy attached a photo of his father and a bunch of the tasty donuts available to customers.
My dad is sad cause no one is coming to his new donut shop 😭 pic.twitter.com/y5aGB1Acrc
— Billy's Donuts (@BillysDonuts) March 9, 2019
Imagine seeing your own father upset because no one else is sharing his passion. It was that kind of sadness that Billy was dealing with, and he knew it was time something was done about it. Along with the tweet of his sad father, Billy added the most important bit of information, the donut shop’s address.
7022 Hwy 6 suite 800 Missouri City, Texas
— Billy's Donuts (@BillysDonuts) March 10, 2019
Hopes For The Tweet
Billy shared his tweet with his followers, but he can’t have expected the amazing response he got. Instead of just a bunch of his close pals and family seeing his tweet, over 350,000 people have retweeted his original post, and it has been liked over 700,00 times.
Billy’s Donuts had gone global, and if a small percentage of those who saw the tweet showed up, Satharith would have a very busy day.
It wasn’t meant to be this difficult to sell donuts. They are the super sweet treat that people just can’t get enough of, so what was wrong with Billy’s Donuts? Satharith had put his heart and soul into making the store look perfect, and love into his donuts, if only someone could come and taste them. One taste would be enough for the message to spread, not to mention these donuts look delicious.
Mar. 9 was the grand opening of Billy’s Donuts, but it was beginning to feel like a disappointment. Although Billy had sent out his tweet, there was no guarantee of any new customers making their way to the store in Missouri City. Then the message began to spread across the local region, and customers started hearing about this new donut shop.
The Right Tweet
In this era of social media dominance, sending out the right message, at the right time can make a huge difference. Billy had managed to send out the tweet at the perfect time, and people were compelled to share it, they couldn’t stand his father’s sad face any more than he could. The internet was doing its best to help turn Satharith’s sad face into a beaming smile.
Billy kept a track on his tweet, and he could see that it was blowing up in a big way. The store opening was on a Saturday, and while it was underwhelming, by Sunday the donuts were flying off the shelves. Billy told the Houston Chronicle that he warned his dad on the Saturday evening to “make a lot of donuts.”
Not Wanting To Disappoint
Billy and Satharith had to get ready, Sunday was going to be a big day. Although the grand opening wasn’t what Satharith was hoping for, day number two of trading was going to be a big one. It was going to be all hands on deck for everyone working at the donut shop on the Sunday. Little did they know what was going to happen, however.
The Customers Start Coming
Billy sent his tweet out into the ether, with the hopes it would bring in a few customers, but he can’t have predicted the response he got. The tweet gained traction and thousands were sharing it.
People who were in the area began to come along to check out this donut shop they’d seen all over their social media accounts, including Houston Magazine Dining Editor Timothy Malcolm, who shared this cool Instagram post from his visit:
Learning About Social Media
The Houston Chronicle reported that Sathrith didn’t really understand what Twitter or Instagram were on Saturday, but by Sunday he did. There was an overwhelming response from people wanting to put a smile on Satharith’s face, and a donut in their bellies. Billy’s Donuts tweeted that by Sunday they had completely sold out of donuts and kolaches.
Just wanted to update yall! We completely sold out of donuts and kolaches! You are all amazing. I can't thank everyone enough for coming out and supporting local businesses. This means so much to my family ❤️ pic.twitter.com/o3GQcKvVnG
— Billy's Donuts (@BillysDonuts) March 10, 2019
What’s A Kolache?
It isn’t just donuts sold at Billy’s Donuts, as their kolaches were also flying off the shelves after Billy’s tweet. What’s a kolache you ask? A kolache is a pastry that originated in Europe, which encases either cheese or fruit and are well-known to most people living in Texas. Billy’s Donuts were filling their kolaches with meat to add an extra twist to their menu.
The Sunday Rush
Things got pretty hectic in the kitchen on the opening weekend of Billy’s Donuts. According to the Houston Chronicle, Satharith was unable to enjoy serving the line of customers that snaked all the way out of his store on Sunday, Mar. 10. Instead, the store owner was busy frantically making more and more donuts in the back, trying his best to keep up with the ever-increasing demand.
Calling In Favors
Demand was so high that Satharith and company could not keep up, so they had to call on some family members to come along and help out, according to the Chronicle. The shop owner’s wife, Nakry, took a turn at the front of house, taking orders from the horde of hungry customers. While her husband was sweating away in the kitchen, Nakry was doing her best to keep on top of the orders.
Of the over 350,000 retweets Billy’s Donut’s initial post received, one of those came from Twitter’s official account. It no doubt helped boost the number of people seeing the tweet which led to the huge line coming from the donut store. That wasn’t the only thing Twitter did for the new business, and they had a surprise for Billy’s Donuts.
— Twitter (@Twitter) March 10, 2019
Sending The Team
Twitter might have just left it a retweeting Billy’s Donuts post, but they went one better and sent a bunch of employees to the store. (And tweeted about it, of course.)
— Twitter (@Twitter) March 11, 2019
Kitting Out The Team
Twitter had made a big impression on the donut shop, and Billy sent out an Instagram post on his father’s shop’s behalf to thank them. The family was sporting Twitter shirts, but instead of the trademark blue of the company, the shirts were yellow to match the paint job of the store. This seemed to be a match made in heaven.
In High Demand
Billy’s social media efforts paid off so much that the shop struggled to keep up with the high demand for donuts. A few days after the opening, Billy posted a note on social media to say that his mom and dad were “trying their best to accommodate everyone and their donut cravings,” and that he hoped everyone could understand that the high demand may lead to a sold out donut shop.
A Long Time Coming
The donut shop was a long time coming for Satharith and his family. Before Billy’s Donuts grand opening on Mar. 9, Satharith and his family had run another shop for 24 years. It too was a donut shop, but unfortunately, Nakry encountered a number of health problems and they had to close it down in 2016, as explained in their Houston Chronicle interview.
A Sad Time
With Nakry back in better health, and a new shop about to open, you’d think Satharith would have been happy on his shop’s opening day. Since Satharith had already had to close one shop, it’s understandable why he’d be sad and nervous about a lack of customers to his new one. Good thing he had Billy, who was able to step in to help.
Turning Things Around
Thanks to Billy’s actions, his father had one of the best opening weeks any business could ever hope for. The donuts have been flying off the shelves, and the store itself has become famous worldwide, with heaps of media coverage, all thanks to one little tweet.
Billy’s Donuts got a great plug on Mar. 12 when “Queer Eye” star Karamo Brown, a Houston native, gave the donut shop a plug during a live question-and-answer session on Twitter. One user asked if he’d visit the donut shop, and he said he heard they have the “best” donuts and that he’d “definitely” visit the shop the next time he was in town.
Karamo, you are the best!!! https://t.co/PXTGNJPEEQ
— Billy's Donuts (@BillysDonuts) March 12, 2019
Tons Of New Followers
Between Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, Billy’s Donuts now has more than 180,000 followers. That’s an impressive feat for a business that’s been open for such a short time. If you happen to live nearby or have an upcoming trip to Houston scheduled, now you know where to stop in for a sweet treat!