Co-owners of Epi’s Pizza, Desiree Bousquet and Mick Majka, help a customer with their order on Thursday, Feb. 22, during the first Bar Harbor Cash Mob event. ISLANDER PHOTO BY SAMUEL SHEPHERD

Cash Mob strikes at Epi’s

BAR HARBOR — A new group aiming to support local businesses during the slower winter season kicked off its efforts last Thursday by surprising Epi’s Pizza on Cottage Street with a busy lunch rush.

The Bar Harbor Cash Mob — a play on the term “flash mob,” which describes a quickly forming large group of people that break into dance, song or something else unexpected — brought dozens of customers to the pizza and sub shop.

Customers were out in droves, ordering pizza, sandwiches and desserts from the small crew behind the counter.

“It is completely an honor,” said Desiree Bousquet, co-owner of Epi’s with Mick Majka.

The mob was organized by Melinda Workman, an accountant at Coston and McIsaac. Her Bar Harbor Cash Mob Facebook group has 240 members. While she handles all of the legwork now, she plans to form a steering committee to help decide the location for the next mob.

“I’ve had so many emails about businesses that want a cash mob,” Workman said. “I would like to have a group of five to 10 people to [help] make the decisions.”

She decided on Epi’s as the first location for the mob because the business stays open year-round and has had a couple of setbacks this winter.

“Desiree and Mick are two of the hardest-working people I know,” Workman said. “The pipes burst at Christmas here, and the water heater flooded last week, so they had lots of repairs.

“I eat here a couple of times a week, and my New Year’s resolution was to make a difference,” she said. “I participated in a cash mob 20 years ago in New Hampshire, so I thought, ‘Well, I’m going to try it.’”

Bousquet said that the restaurant saw an increase of orders even before the event started around lunch time.

“It was cute,” Bousquet said. “We had people order pizzas and tell us to wait until 11 a.m. so they could be part of the cash mob.”

Workman said that she hopes to have at least one cash mob during each of the winter months.

“There are tons of people in the summer,” she said. “I think it’s a struggle for places that stay open through the winter.”

Samantha Wanner of Bar Harbor said if Epi’s had to close for the winter, she would miss the breakfast pizza she regularly orders.

“I came here for breakfast and I’m back here for lunch,” Wanner said. “This is good place to get good quick food,” say, on a lunch break.

“I intend to attend as many cash mobs as possible,” said Evin Carson of Bar Harbor. If Epi’s ever had to close for the winter, she said, “it would mean no more steak sandwiches!”

The event also promoted gift cards for Epi’s and other island businesses at Workman said the project is not connected with the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce, but she would be open to collaborating.


Samuel Shepherd

Samuel Shepherd

Samuel Shepherd is a University of Maine graduate and a former Bar Harbor reporter for the Mount Desert Islander.
Samuel Shepherd

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