Lou Torres isn’t on Facebook, but as of Jan. 13 he had 6,116 supporters of his failing restaurant on the social networking site.
Torres owns Deano’s Pizzarama in Santa Barbara, a 50-year-old landmark heading for closure in the face of an ugly economy and tough competition. He owes his landlord two months in back rent and has little prospects for coming up with it. Unless he can work something out with the property manager, the restaurant must close Jan. 17 and vacate the building by Jan. 21.
In desperation, he turned to tech-savvy Alexis Doulton. He asked if she could set something up on Facebook that would let people know about his plight. So Doulton created the “Help Save Deano’s in Santa Barbara!” group on Jan. 5. She hoped to get 400 people to join. In less than a day more than 2,000 signed up. A digital campaign was born.