COMMON DREAMS: Local Businesses Hit by 'Cash Mobs'

March 23, 2012
Common Dreams staff
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Move over, flash mobs. "Cash mobs" are coming.

Longfellow Books co-owner Stuart Gersen enjoying his store being "cash mobbed." The idea behind cash mobs is to get a group of people to flood a local business and spend a suggested set amount in order to give the local business an economic boost.

The first cash mobs were organized back in 2011 in Buffalo, NY and Cleveland, but now they seem to be spreading nationally and internationally, with tomorrow set for International Cash Mob Day.

Yesterday Portland, Maine, a town known for having a strong buy local movement, was hit by its first cash mob. In the event organized by, the target was Longfellow Books. Store co-owner Stuart Gersen said, “This puts more people in the store than all day today and all day yesterday.” “We maybe got a few days like this before Christmas.”

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Bangor Daily News: Portland ‘Cash Mob’ raids store with money

PORTLAND, Maine — Hoping to take advantage of the Portland community’s enthusiasm for supporting local stores, a new website organized a “Cash Mob” Thursday night. Nearly 50 people gathered in Monument Square armed with $20 bills and overwhelmed nearby Longfellow Books with business. [...]

The dose of cash was welcomed, but the event succeeded in another way as well. It shone a spotlight on the “Buy Local” movement, said Suzanne Gagnon, an office manager and outreach leader for the organizing group, Local Thunder.

“Every little bit helps, and it’s also another way to draw attention to the local economy in a fun way,” Gagnon said.

Event organizer Local Thunder is the group behind the fledgling website, which keeps a comprehensive directory of Portland businesses by type and highlights activities being held in the city.

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USA Today: 'Cash mobs' descend on small businesses, snap up merchandise

It's a mob scene at some mom-and-pop retailers across the country.

Organized groups of do-gooders — "cash mobs," modeled after public-spectacle "flash mobs" — are descending upon small businesses, snapping up merchandise and rallying at pubs afterward to celebrate their pro-community mission.

The shopping sprees have taken place in dozens of cities from San Diego to Buffalo. The packs organize on platforms such as Facebook or Twitter, where they get details on where and when a strike will occur.

Farmers markets, toy retailers and hardware stores have been on the hit list. Mob members typically spend at least $10 to $20.

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