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Inspiring Stories

Fantastic Friday: Cash Mob Edition

PHOTO CREDIT: DNAinfo/Jordan Davidson

I’m a big fan of local business.  And you know what local businesses need?  Local people supporting them.  So I’m an even bigger fan of local people supporting local businesses.

Which is why I was excited by this story about a group of people in Washington Heights and Inwood that are looking to make a difference in their community by mobbing local stores.

Uptown Neighborhood Renewal, the community outreach arm of Uptown Community Church in Washington Heights, recently began organizing monthly “cash mobs” to support local businesses and artists.

Cash mobs involve a large group arriving at a venue at the same time to purchase as much as its members can reasonably afford in an effort to help out local businesses and people.

They have mobbed a shoe repair company, a t-shirt maker, and are moving on to a pharmacy and a cafe later this year.  In fact, not only do they buy things, but in some cases they’ll donate whatever they’ve purchased to those in need as well.  That’s double the good.  For instance…

…the group intends to purchase tissues, hand sanitizer and lozenges to make cold-season care packages for teachers at local public schools in addition to personal items.

The team will also offer a dollar-to-dollar match on purchases of hand sanitizer from Dichter Pharmacy through the end of October, according to Reyn Cabinte, the church’s pastor.

“Every time someone buys a bottle of Purell, we’ll buy one too and donate it to a neighborhood school,” said Cabinte.

Will this solve all the issues related to local business?  Of course not.  There are funding issues that need to be addressed, which some, like the Slow Money movement, have in their sights. There are demand issues that persist where people (especially in lower income neighborhoods) may not have enough disposable income to support all of the local shops.  And there are issues related to scale where local shops are at a cost disadvantage compared to larger businesses.

That being said, this is important.  And it’s a start.

Have a Fantastic Friday everyone!

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