Cash mobs give business a boostWith "Sizzlin' Saturdays" keeping many downtown Pleasanton stores open late, a new program called "Cash Mob" stirred things up even more earlier this month as more than 20 shoppers crowded into Towne Center Books to spend at least $20. It was part of a nationwide effort to generate more business (and profits) for downtown businesses in small-to-mid-size cities such as Pleasanton where many local residents tend to spend their shopping dollars at nearby malls or online.
Kelley Foulk at the Pleasanton Downtown Association, which is bringing the Cash Mob program here, believes that if you can bring people downtown, get them interested and excited, and persuade them to spend a few dollars as part of a group effort to boost business at shops and restaurants, they'll come back and these businesses will work even harder to make sure they do. Last Saturday, Foulk met the 20 first-cash mobbers at the Museum on Main. A number of downtown stores had asked to host the mob, and Foulk drew the winning store for the inaugural run. Waving their $20 bills, the mob moved as one over to Judy Wheeler's bookstore where they enjoyed tasty treats and beverages while selecting books to buy. Some spent far more than $20 and a few admitted that they hadn't been in the store before.
Cash Mobs have become popular all over. The Lufkin, Texas business association has made Cash Mobs a part of its Main Street revitalization effort. Lufkin's Main Street director Barbara Thompson said business had been slow and the mob was the push downtown merchants needed. Lisa Gilmore in Los Angeles just doubled the size of her first Cash Mob, going so far as to hand out fliers and set up booths to gain participants at farmers markets in the city. There have been two in Cleveland and the list of other mobs around the world is growing day by day.
The neat things about having all of these people join in a Cash Mob effort is that it shows how group activism can work, helping small businesses and restaurants while also generating a spirit of accomplishment in a strictly local effort. Foulk and the PDA will do it again Sept. 8. We hope you'll sign up to be with us as we work to boost downtown Pleasanton.