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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

‘Cash Mobs’ Give A Boost To Locally Owned Stores

You’ve heard of flash mobs, where people appear to randomly gather and break into elaborate song and dance routines. But now, a new phenomenon, called “Cash Mobs,” is spreading across the country.

Instead of breaking into song, members of Cash Mobs break open their wallets to spend money at locally owned businesses.

The idea is the brainchild of Buffalo blogger and engineer Chris Smith. He says Cash Mobs are sort of a reverse Groupon. Instead of offering people bargain-basement deals, people pay the regular price to support retailers in their communities.

Smith says the Cash Mob is also a chance for business owners to begin building a longer-term relationship with customers.

He also wants consumers to rethink the value of locally owned stores.

“[I want to] make them think once a month that you don’t have to go to Target for everything you need and everything you want,” Smith said.

Since he launched the first Cash Mob back in August at a Buffalo wine shop, the idea has caught on.

In Warwick, R.I., Annie Johnson of “Anything Goes” says about 35 people came to her store for a recent Cash Mob.

“It was a total surprise to me,” said Johnson.  “I thought, ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe this is really happening.’ ”

Her store features the work of 50 local artists, and Johnson said the Cash Mob exposed new customers to their goods.

“We’ve already had people return,” Johnson said. “We’ve had people who couldn’t come to the original Cash Mob come into the store because they want to support the concept of Cash Mobs.”

Johnson said a local business group hopes to organize one Cash Mob a month to build awareness for the local business movement.

A group in Cleveland started a website with “Mob Rules” to help other communities get started. And they’ve even declared March 24 as National Cash Mob day.

As for the original Cash Mobber, Chris Smith says that he hopes to do something of a mash-up next time, where he infuses some of the music from Flash Mobs with the shopping from Cash Mobs for a whole new experience.

Guests:

  • Annie Johnson, co-owner of Anything Goes in Warwick, Rhode Island
  • Chris Smith, creator of Cash Mobs and blogger for ArtVoice in Buffalo, New York

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • http://twitter.com/CashMobLocal Cash Mob Local

    It’s really inspirational to see the continued excitement generated by the phenomena of a Cash Mob. Finally something that’s not only good for the small business community, but it also is bringing neighborhoods together. Everyone feels great after attending one of these and I hope the momentum continues. Here’s a site that I’ve recommended numerous times that provides great resources for those who are organizing and planning Cash Mobs. http://cashmobmarketing.com I wish you the best in your continued efforts.

  • Tom Jones

    #dealproxi – Another way to help local business in your area is to get them to use FREE advertising at http://www.dealproxi.com  – 100% free for BOTH the merchant and the customer!  A new way to connect local biz and customers!

  • Ryan0321@gmail.com

    Cash Mobs are quickly growing in popularity growing around the world in small towns and large cities. What a great way to get people interested in helping support small business. There is daily coverage on cash mobs within the US and abroad at http:www.cashmob.com.

Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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