WHO: Billy By, son of the owner of Billy’s Donuts in Missouri City.
WHAT: A single tweet that changed the trajectory of a new business.
WHY IT’S SO GREAT: On the morning of March 10, Billy’s Donuts was pretty dead. The mom-and-pop shop on the south side of Houston had opened in early 2019, and the store’s Twitter account, run by Billy By, featured a couple of joking tweets from By about his father’s efforts to build the shop.
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
On Saturday, By posted another tweet with photos of the store, showing its bright yellow walls, its delicious, sugary confections, its hopeful “Grand Opening” banner (complete with festive balloons!), and its lack—entirely—of any customers at all. “My dad is sad cause no one is coming to his new donut shop,” he tweeted. Then, with the internet being the internet, everything changed.
The tweet spread quickly. On Sunday morning, the store was suddenly a hotspot in Missouri City, and by noon, the entire lineup of donuts and kolaches had sold out.
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
The story is charming, full of struggling, earnest small businesspeople, social media rallying as a force for good, and donuts. It quickly became a sensation. Twitter sent its own team out to Missouri City to take advantage of the good will (and good PR for the platform) and picked up the tab for the slew of new customers visiting the shop.
While Texas Monthly hasn’t yet had the opportunity to try Billy’s Donuts for ourselves, the tale of the donut shop that became a national sensation—local news stations around the country have featured the story—has converted more than a few fans. The restaurant holds a five-star Yelp rating, with customers praising the donuts, the kolaches, and the warmth of the owners. In an age when it’s easy to be overwhelmed by all of the bad news coming out of social media, it’s nice to take a moment to enjoy when the story is decidedly sweeter.