Best Practices

Cash Mobs Support Small Business Coast-to-Coast

Published May 01, 2012

Mobs Swarm Small Business

New mobs armed with cash in hand are swarming small businesses coast to coast.  Their purpose?  To support small business, while having a little fun along the way. 

What is a cash mob?

The idea behind a cash mob is to encourage people to go into locally owned small businesses and spend a few dollars, en masse.  The mob-leader picks a date and time to swarm a small business (or businesses).  Word is typically spread through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media outlets.

Armed with some cash in hand the mob descends…and buys. 

Why mob with cash?

Besides the guilty pleasure of meeting up with friends for a $20 mini-shopping spree, cash mobs can have a very positive impact on small businesses.  A recent Ohio cash mob descended on Chagrin Hardware, a family owned hardware store in the small village of Chagrin Falls.  In business since 1857, the store has seen its share of tough times, the Associated Press reports. Road construction has crippled business.  Big box stores and a weakened economy have also taken their toll. 

Chagrin Hardware
Photo from USA Today

According to a USA Today article, the idea for the cash mob started with local resident, Jim Black.  He first sent an email to a group of friends, " Let's show our support for one of our local businesses," he wrote. "I challenge everyone to spend AT LEAST $20 at the hardware on the 21st".  As with other cash mobs, word quickly spread further through Facebook and Twitter.

By 10 a.m. on the day of the cash mob, the place was jammed. By 1:30 p.m., the credit card machine was overloaded and had to be reset.  The line at the checkout stretched in two directions . 

As the USA Today article reports, mobster Chad Schron came with his 8-year-old son Robert. "We didn't have anything we had to get, but we found things we had to get," he said. As he spoke, Robert clutched an Ohio State desk lamp and two flying monkey toys to his chest.

To mob one, or many

 Kansas City cash mob at the shots in Westwood

Cash mobs don't always target just one business. A Kansas City cash mob recently targeted a small cluster of shops in suburban Westwood, consisting of a coffee shop, florist, picture frame shop and a chocolatier.

The Kansas City area's first cash mob was organized by Burton Kelso, Kelly Ziegler and Jennifer Franz, the Kansas City Star reports. The trio initially came up with the idea after reading about cash mobs in other cities. The goal is to get people to spend at each shop, meet new people, and have fun.

Start your own cash mob

According to the cash mob website, cash mob events have appeared in nearly 40 cities in the United States and Canada since first occurring last summer.  The website provides a simple step-by-step set of suggestions to help people start their own cash mob.

So what do you think?  Have you participated or heard of a cash mob?  Do you see one shaping up in your neighborhood?

Content contributed by Jeremy W Hegle, U.S.SourceLink,
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