A group called
Cash Mob St. Paul
emerged earlier this summer as a creative way to support local businesses.
Although a cash mob is similar to a flash mob, it’s not about breaking into dance in an unexpected venue, but bringing businesses an influx of paying customers. In some ways, it builds on the "shop local" trend, explains the group's founder, a blogger who uses the name Ima B. Musing
“The Cash Mob is about being conscientious about where the dollar goes,” she says. “We want to spend it on local entrepreneurs.” Those mom-and-pop businesses, with smaller profit margins, deeply appreciate the edge, she says. “One nice thing is that you can literally see the impact you’re having,” she says, adding that it cycles back through the community.
In starting up the group, Musing was inspired by Cash Mob Minneapolis
, which she used as a model. She wanted to expand its reach into the east metro area, she explains. So far, the 172-member St. Paul group has “mobbed” Homi Mexican
restaurant, Something New in the Park
gift shop, Midway Book Store
and On’s Kitchen Thai Cuisine
“I checked and each of the businesses have reported an uptick in business,” she says.
Mob events have specific meeting times, but people can visit a business according to their own schedules, too. Musing spreads the word through various social media networks, including Facebook, Twitter, and Meetup.
For those who have shown up at the event time, “I’ve found that people seem to enjoy the social aspect,” she says.
The rules are pretty open-ended, but participants are encouraged to spend around $20 during each mob.
The group’s next event is planned for Oct. 23, though the details are still being worked out.
In general, the group wants to spread the wealth. “We want to move it around,” Musing says, adding, “There are so many wonderful businesses all over the place.”
Similar groups have popped up elsewhere, including ones that focus on vegetarian fare and Minnesota-made products. “I think the more the merrier,” she says, adding, “I’m just doing this as a volunteer, as kind of a civic duty,” she says.
Source: Ima B. Musing, blogger, St. Paul Cash Mob
Writer: Anna Pratt