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Cash-mob focuses local spending

June 11, 2012 in Events, Features, News, Opinion

Mobsters are looking a little different around Casper. Leaving their tommy-guns and fedoras at home, local mobsters are instead packing wallets and looking to bring revenue to locally-owned businesses.

Nicole Collier started the Casper Cash Mob after hearing about other national initiatives to flood businesses on a designated day with, well, business. Starting the mob May 10, the Facebook group has rapidly grown to almost 700 people, just by word of mouth. “Initially I thought that if we could just get four people to go to the business I thought it would be a success.

“A cash mob is a group of citizens who get together and visit [or mob] a business with the sole purpose of infusing money into that business,” Collier said. “It’s traditionally used to help those local small businesses who might be struggling. A traditional cash mob is only a couple of hours; however, we’ve started this mob ‘on a restaurant of the day.’ This allows people to go anytime during the day that the business is open.”

The group started by focusing on restaurants. They would choose a restaurant and designate a Wednesday to mob it. Collier calls ahead of time to make sure the business is prepared and willing to participate. Occasionally, she was refused, but most owners are thrilled to learn they’ve been selected. “The only thing I’ve been asking the business owners after they’re mobbed is if they’ve seen an increase in business over a typical Wednesday, and they’ve all said they did,” Collier said.

There was much discussion amongst the group about extending the mob to other locally-owned businesses. Beginning this week, there will be a non-restaurant, locally owned business that will be designated to be mobbed on Thursdays. Collier said they decided on Thursdays because many businesses stay open later. “We’re going to give it a try and see if we can all convince each other to visit two businesses a week instead of just one.”

HQ Southern BBQ was cash mobbed May 24. One of the owners, Gabriel Phillips, said the mob increased their day’s sales by 30 percent. “It was great to learn about the pressures of a monster turn. It was just an awesome test of our limitations,” Phillips said.

Previous restaurants that were mobbed were Lai-Thai and Pho Saigon. JC Burgers will be mobbed Wednesday, June 6, and Wind City Books, the first non-restaurant, will be mobbed Thursday, June 7. In addition, if patrons tell Wind City Books they’re with the cash mob, they’ll receive a 10 percent discount.

The designated mob sites are announced about a week ahead of time and are chosen based on recommendations from members, trying to focus on businesses that need a boost in business. “People have been giving me recommendations and I’ll call those businesses and they’ll pick a specific date with me, it really is just a random pick. We’re hoping we get to every local restaurant. We’re not going to exclude anybody, but it goes by recommendations and when we can get them on the calendar,” Collier said.

Ron Brooks owns Wyoming Sewing Center. His business hasn’t been mobbed, but he’s a member of the Cash Mob. “I applaud the efforts in supporting locally owned establishments. It’s obvious they all know the importance of supporting local business. We keep more local people employed than do the chain stores. Keep up the very good work, I’m sure the owners of these places appreciate your efforts.”

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