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Thirty-eight people shopped at the first every Cash Mob on Sept. 27, spending a minimum of $10 between Williamstown’s Mini Mall, HD Computers, Harold Moore’s Print and Frame Shop and Hobbies and Such.
Thirty-eight people spending $10 equals $380. But, and it is a big BUT, they actually spent over $1,000. The Mob total for the evening was near $600, but more people shopped during the following days.
Cash Mob, like a Flash Mob, is simple. It starts with a set date and location. Shoppers, are then told what time to show up and then given their shopping destination. They simply agree to spend at least $10 at the mystery local shopping location.
The second Cash Mob, in Crittenden, on Oct. 15, only had 16 shoppers. Shoppers were directed to The Blossom Basket and their neighbor, Dixie Treasures. Again, the shoppers spent more than their promised minimum.
The best part of the Cash Mob experience is that most of the shoppers, (local people), had never been inside any of the locally owned shops of the first two events.
“I’ve never been in here…I’m impressed and I am coming back,” said Linda Dunn, current Williamstown Kiwanis president.
The reaction was the same among many of the shoppers. They drive by these local, small businesses every day and have never stopped to see what is really inside.
“Look at this,” said Diane Beckham inside HD Computers. “I need this and it is cheaper than Wal-Mart.”
I have been preaching the idea of shopping the small, local businesses for years. I have been telling people to just go inside and look.
When the idea of the Cash Mob was presented to me I told the person I would do what I could do to entice local people into local small businesses. I also enticed H & R Block’s and Spears Foundation’s Candace Faulkner to lead the effort.
We have been told numerous times how great an idea the Cash Mob is and that we should keep having the events.
“It’s great,” I said, “Only if the shoppers show up.”
We don’t expect someone to make every event but we hope people put the effort into trying to make it, if you believe in the Cash Mob’s purpose. That purpose is for local people to help their local economy by shopping in small, local businesses.
Ten dollars a person, spent in a small business, makes a big difference. Maybe the best difference is knowing for sure many of our local businesses have items of interest and you can drive five miles down the road, rather than driving to Florence where you buying similar items at higher prices.
Anyone can form his or her own Cash Mob. When the family arrives or you have friends together, just pick one or more small local businesses, especially any you have never been inside, and go shop. It’s a treasure hunt. Take a day for yourself and explore local shops on your own. Or, come to one of our events.
Some folks have encouraged Candace and I to continue with organizing more events. We have four Cash Mobs scheduled between now and Christmas.
The next Cash Mob events include:
• Thursday, Nov. 1, 5:30: The Cash Mob will meet at the Grant County Extension office, Baton Rouge Road. The extension office has offered Mobbers free drinks and food to get them in the mood. At the staging site the Shoppers Showcase will be going on offering shoppers lots of buying choices. Then the secret shopping locations will be revealed.
As at any Cash Mob event, your time and spending commitment can range from very little to as much as you want. Some Mobbers get the location, shop and spend in as little as 10 minutes and then go on to their other commitments. Others will leisurely enjoy the moment of discovery.
There will also be Cash Mobs on Nov. 15th, Nov. 29th, and Dec. 13. Watch for more details on those events.
(Ken Stone is publisher of the Grant County News. Contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 859-824-3343.)