Today is ‘Cash Mob’ Day – start one in your town

All it takes are a few people willing to spend a few dollars to support local businesses. Here’s a group from Luling, Texas, $20 bills in hand.

A “cash mob” is a group of regular people who decide to all support the same local business on the same day. Today is International Cash Mob Day. If you don’t have a cash mob in your town, now is the time to organize one.

What are the rules?

There are no rules, or each community makes their own rules.

You can pick one business that has been around for decades and could use the renewed support, a group of new businesses that need help getting established, any business, whatever works for your town. I think it makes sense to pick one business at a time: concentrate your results in one place.

Then get the word out. Go online, get in the newspaper, do whatever will work to reach people in your town. The organizers of one of the first cash mobs measured success by having one person they didn’t know personally show up and participate. That meant they had reached beyond just their circle of friends.

You can ask people to bring $20 to spend, or $10, or whatever amount is comfortable for most of your community. (If you’re a $100 community, more power to you!)

You can make it all day long, or all at the same time, or once again, whatever works for your town. Play around! Experiment! Have fun!

Luling’s Huber Package Store got really crowded in the first cash mob.

If Luling can do it, you can do it

The Luling, Texas, Area Chamber of Commerce started a cash mob just by picking one business and asking folks to turn out at the same time, each with $20 to spend. When I spoke in Luling earlier this month, Chamber of Commerce President Ada Potts told me about the first one.

“It was at Huber Package Store – Texas’ oldest package [liquor] store,” Ada said.  “We had about 25 folks show up, who spent $800+ in about 45 minutes.  It was a hoot!  The store is only a couple hundred square feet, and it was a lot of fun fitting all the “mobbers” inside.”

“Our 2nd Cash Mob last Thursday was a great success!  We met at the chamber office, then headed to Luling Icehouse Pottery.  We had about 20 folks show up.  The owners put out snacks & sangria.  They had over $900 in sales & a good time was had by all!”

The second business mobbed was the Luling Icehouse Pottery.

Now, go! 
I hope you’re inspired by what a small town can do. If you have a cash mob, tell us about it in the comments: how do you make it work?

If you don’t have one, jump up right now and make one. Call some friends. Post it on Facebook. Text someone. And go spend $20 to keep a favorite local merchant alive and thriving.

Photos courtesy of the Luling Area Chamber of Commerce.

Disclosure: I lived in Luling as a kid, and therefore, I am a huge Luling fan. That’s not really a disclosure. I just wanted to mention it. :)

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About Becky McCray

Becky started Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share rural business and community building stories and ideas with other small town business people. She and her husband own a retail liquor store in Alva, Oklahoma, and a small cattle ranch nearby. Becky is an international speaker on small business.

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  1. says

    I absolutely positively love this idea!! I will pass it on the to the folks in our small town. We can do this too!! White City, Ks–population 600–still ROCKS!

  2. says

    Great idea! It’s going to take all of us pulling together to help these mom and pop stores survive. And small businesses are the foundation of this country! My daughter and son-in-law have a small exercise equipment store that got slammed by the slow economy. They are located in Knoxville, TN on N. Forest Park Blvd. The store is Exercise Essentials–and they are struggling to survive. It’s heartbreaking to see people pour their heart and soul into their family businesses, only to face losing everything. If anyone can use some really good quality exercise equipment, please pay them a visit. They can use all the help they can get.