Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce members will “Cash Mob” a local small business retail establishment to emphasize the importance of shopping local, 0n Tuesday, Sept. 18.
"The public is invited to join the fun and excitement from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at a site to be announced as we launch this new effort to support local small-business merchants," said Chamber Executive Vice President Bernadette Douglas.
Chris Smith, a blogger and engineer from Buffalo, N.Y., first started the idea of a Cash Mob in August 2011 at a wine shop in Buffalo. Public Radio International reported that he organized more than 100 people to purchase items from City Wine Merchant on Aug. 5. Mr. Smith described the mobs as a “reverse Groupon” meant to make a “chance for business owners to begin building a longer-term relationship with customers.”
The idea of Cash Mobs quickly spread throughout the country. In Cleveland, Ohio, 40 people gathered to shop at a local bookstore as their first Cash-Mob event. Afterward the group started a blog to popularize the idea, leading to a forum for other organizations to share successful ideas.
“While organized by many different groups of people, from chambers of commerce to merchants associations, all appear to have the same goal in mind—to support local businesses,” Ms. Douglas explained.
The use of social media like Facebook and Twitter has popularized Cash Mobs, leading to the formation of these community-shopping efforts in more than 32 states and in Canada.
The local Cash Mob is organized by the Chamber’s Small Business Committee led by Chairman Lois Egan, owner of Hiwassee Insurance.
“We are looking forward to our first event as a way to build excitement for Cash Mobs each quarter,” Ms. Egan noted. The idea is for each participant to go to the location of the Cash Mob between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. and spend a minimum of $20. Each member of the “Mob” will receive an “I joined the Mob” sticker.
“Our Mob will provide a quick infusion of cash for the business and hopefully show the purchasing power of our small-business community,” Ms. Egan said.
The Chamber of Commerce will reveal the location of the first Cash-Mob merchant Tuesday morning using local media and the Chamber’s social media outlets on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/pages/ClevelandBradley-Chamber-of-Commerce) and Twitter #CLEchamber.