Family and Facebook: they’re beautiful things.
In an economy that is becoming more and more cut throat, businesses are having to try new and different things simply to survive. Jodi Theodore saw her parent’s Weatherford business, Hutch’s Pie and Sandwich Shop, suffering a downturn and decided to do something about it.
Theodore posted on Facebook for everyone to come to the business Saturday, which was titled “Save Hutch’s Day” to get people inside the doors. It worked, as people were lined up outside the doors to get into the business on College Park Drive. A map was posted on Facebook showing potential customers how to get arounf construction.
“This is about three or four times what we normally do on a Saturday,” owner Dave Hutchens said. “It’s been that way for the last two days.”
Theodore said the lines were still going strong late in the afternoon Saturday. This isn’t the first time she’s used social media to come to the aid of someone in need.
“About five or six years ago a friend of mine lost her home in a flood,” Theodore said. “I used MySpace to organize a benefit and we wound up making like $3,000 so they could get the inside of their home redone.”
Hutchens bought the business in 1985. As he and his staff kneaded dough and put pies into the fryer at a breakneck pace Saturday, he said that business is down about 10 to 15 percent related to the construction on South Main Street, but also said that business has been lagging the last two to three years.
“The economy’s tough. There are a lot of new eating places out there,” Hutchens said. “This is all due to Facebook. I am a new fan of Facebook.”
In a Facebook post dated Aug. 7, it was written “we know it’s been difficult to get a fried pie with all the construction. Believe us, it’s been hard to stay afloat. Help us stay in business by supporting Hutch’s. We need you!”
New and old fans of the business filled the place on Saturday. Theodore said that former employees came back to help in the kitchen and worked for free throughout the day.
“They’ve been here since 6 a.m.,” Theodore said. “Weatherford is a great place and we thank them for their support.”
Many people took their orders to go, which is common, but some were eating inside. Dave Constantinou came all the way from Granbury to help.
“A friend of mine sent me the post, so I came up to give it a try,” Constantinou, who said he’d been waiting about 20 minutes, said. “He always raves about this place, and this was as good a time as any.”
Nicky Rodgers and her three kids come about twice a month from Peaster, she said.
“It’s a shame they’re suffering, but (the pies) are always great,” Rodgers said while eating a breakfast pie. “Don’t know what I’d do if the closed.”
For its part, the Weatherford Chamber of Commerce has been lending aid to some of the struggling businesses along Main Street by organizing “Chamber mobs.”
“We send out a notification [to Chamber members] at the first of the day and list the place for everyone to gather at and everybody shows up at a certain time,” Peggy Hutton, director of development, said. “It’s mainly for the businesses that are affected by the construction.”
Chamber members flooded Braum’s Thursday, with about 20 additional people showing up to the restaurant, Hutton said.
“If they spent anywhere from $2 to $10, every little bit helps,” she added.
The Chamber is currently planning more mob events at other businesses leading up to Interstate 20. Anyone wishing to get involved can contact the Chamber offices at (817) 594-3801 or by emailing email@example.com.
Assistant news editor Sally Sexton contributed to this report.