There is a classic scene from the movie Goodfellas where Henry Hill describes what doing business with the Mob is like; needless to say the painted picture is less than desirable. So why would two local businesses accept a proposal from the Greater Grand Forks Young Professionals to host a “Cash Mob” at their downtown locations?
Last month, a mob of Young Professionals, armed with checkbooks, credit cards and wallets full of cash, descended upon Dakota Harvest Bakers and Amazing Grains Food Co-op. There were no shakedowns and looting as one might expect from the name. Instead, the mob followed two simple rules: show up at 6pm, and spend at least $10 at each business. It was the first time a few of the mob members had been exposed to the business and others utilized the mob experience to venture away from their normal purchases and try sometime new. The atmosphere was casual and the stores were abuzz with discussion of new foods, business ideas, and future events.
The Cash Mob concept originated within the last couple of years as a way for a community to support a local small business through an organized “economic onslaught”. The trend is part of a bigger movement to support local businesses nationwide. Money spent at a local business has a greater chance of being reinvested into the community then money spent at national chains. The local business benefits not only from a spike in increased revenue, but also has greater overall exposure and a chance to convert “mobbers” into new reoccurring customers.
The YP’s plan on hosting additional Cash Mobs in the near future and I would encourage all small business owners to sign up as a victim of the Mob.
- Jordan Schuetzle (Serial entrepreneur, attorney, and adjunct assistant professor in the Entrepreneurship Department at UND)