Johnson City

Restaurant owner finds sudden success online

Greg's Pizza

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. - A Johnson City pizza shop that's been a Tri-Cities staple for 50 years suddenly found new success overnight with a Facebook promotion.

Over the past five decades, Greg's Pizza has developed a loyal customer base on the corner of Princeton Road.

But a few days ago, owner Eddy Zayas-Bazan decided to try something new to attract new customers -- he simply started a Facebook page. "I was looking at alternative media and how to generate business in the early part of the week when it's slower," says Zayas-Bazan.

The page quickly took off. "We had an explosion last night," laughs Zayas-Bazan.

In a matter of hours, the pizza shop had more Facebook followers than they could have ever imagined.

They enough Facebook 'likes' to make many business owner's mouth water. "I was expecting 500 or 600," Zayas-Bazan said. "I didn't expect 3,600."

To keep up with the demand, the one-pizza giveaway quickly turned into six free pies, one for every 500 people that liked the page Monday night.

Although he is the third owner of the Johnson City icon, Zayas-Bazan says the recipe is still the same, made with all fresh ingredients mostly made by hand on site. "We put all ingredients right on the pie," he said, "then cover it with mounds of cheese. We don't measure our ingredients, just make sure we put heapings full."

It's a recipe that's served the business well for half a century; now Facebook might be an added ingredient to help carry it the next 50 years.

The owner started the page after taking a small business development class. He wasn't sure it would work, but after the overnight success he says he's now looking for more ways to promote the restaurant through social media.

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