Mayor Tim Burchett's "cash mob" reached outside of South Knoxville for the first time Friday night.
This mob focused on businesses on Sutherland Avenue in the Pond Gap Community at Red Onion Pizza and Strawberry Fields Market.
The area features a variety of international foods from Ethiopian to Italian.
The shops and restaurants there catered to UT grad students who lived across the street at the former Sutherland Village and Golf Range apartments. Many of those students came to study from abroad.
The Holy Land Market owner Walter Ajlouni said they provided native foods to the temporary residents.
"We had a variety of food and snacks for them that they're accustomed to," said Ajlouni.
But last July those apartments were demolished to make way for intramural fields. The loss of the buildings resulted in loss of customers for many businesses in the area.
"There were about 600 apartments there. They were my regular customers. I lost 35-40% of business across the street from me," said Shedid Masood, owner of Red Onion Pizza.
Masood moved to East Tennessee from Pakistan in the 1970s with hope to live the "American dream."
"Just like the 'American dream,' you work hard and you can make it. So I did that," he said.
They have been successful up until recently. The loss of student business has been a setback.
"Me and my wife work and work and work and do what we can do, you know," Masood said.
Mayor Tim Burchett recognized that hard work might not be enough, so he chose to have one of his cash mobs at Red Onion Pizza.
"Thanks to the mayor. He's trying to help me out this way," he said.
But Masood is putting even higher hopes on the completion of the intramural fields.
"Everybody says the soccer field will help. I'm crossing my fingers that it will all work out," he said.