Cash mob plans to boost Billygan's business tonight

Effort follows outbreak of stomach illnesses that caused the restaurant to close for a few days last month

By Stover E. Harger III, Columbian neighborhood news coordinator

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Supporters of Billygan’s Roadhouse plan to bombard it with business tonight in an effort to boost sales in the wake of an outbreak of stomach illnesses that caused the Salmon Creek restaurant to close for a few days last month.

The “cash mob” organizer Roy Pulliam said it’s not fair that some patrons have stopped visiting Billygan’s since 22 diners reported symptoms of nausea, vomiting and diarrhea after eating there Feb. 15 and 16. Just because someone came to the restaurant when they were sick — spreading their illness to others in the process — doesn’t mean the establishment should suffer, he said.

“The closure had nothing at all to do with the quality of the meals served there or bad food,” Pulliam wrote in an email. “People still think they can get sick by eating there. That is not true.”

Cash mobs have become an increasingly popular way for people to support local businesses by gathering in a big group to spend money. They are often organized through social media.

Pulliam said more than 75 are expected to spend around $15 and $20 between 5 and 8 p.m. tonight at Billygan’s, 13200 N.E. Highway 99.

Billygan's Manager Michael Melnick said he is very appreciative of the support. After news broke of the illness-related closure, business had a slight downturn, though he said it's now on the mend.

"It's definitely picking back up," Melnick said. "We had a little rough patch."

Clark County Public Health temporarily closed the business in response to the February sicknesses, allowing it to reopen a few days later after sanitization and inspection efforts. Health workers say the presumed culprit was viral gastroenteritis, such as the highly contagious norovirus.

“Workers there are like a family and the owner is trying her best to overcome this tragic event,” Pulliam wrote. “Let’s help them.”