You may have heard about flash mobs – groups of people randomly showing up in places like shopping centers to perform spontaneous yet intricate dance routines.
Now cash mobs have started another social movement that involves perfect strangers agreeing to show up at a local small business at the same time. Each person then “mobs” the business with $20 cash.
Nashville Wraps’ customer Handmade Market in Fayetteville, AR was recently mobbed by 60 participants from the Fayetteville Cash Mob. Owner Mim Wynne commented, “Our normal Saturday sales were tripled and everyone knew why they were there, which was to shop locally.” And the great thing for Mim was that many customers spent more than $20.
Cash mobs came about after a Cleveland flash mob turned into a destructive riot that looted several small businesses. Local attorney Andrew Samtoy and his friends thought about how to turn the idea into something positive.
“We were thinking about how businesses could be ruined just by kids running in and stealing stuff,” explained Samtoy. “But what if responsible, law-supporting citizens decided to go into these businesses and spend their money, en masse, to give the business owner a little bit of economic stimulus? Imagine if 100 people showed up at a farmers’ market and each spent $20. That would be $2,000 into the local economy for stuff that we need or want anyway.”
The US Small Business Administration estimates that small businesses create 65 percent of new jobs. Also, small businesses give back to local communities far more than big box retail chains.
Cash mobs have popped up in cities across the United States and around the world. They use social media including Facebook and Twitter to get the word out about the meeting location and time. The focus is on locally-owned and independent small businesses. They usually plan a mob once a month. Participants don’t know the business they are mobbing until everyone meets. This element of surprise is part of the fun.
The benefit to each small business, after the initial sales, is repeat customers, since many of the cash “mobbers” have never been in their stores. The business owners are asked by the organizer ahead of time for permission. This gives them time to prepare and advertise the event too. They are also encouraged to give back to the community in some way.
To learn more about how you can start a cash mob in your community, visit these websites: