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February 15, 2022

'Cash mobs' the new way to support local businesses

Officially, flash mobs began sometime back in 2003, but chances are you didn’t hear the term until 2009, when that great T-Mobile video from the London train station began circling the ‘net.

Buy-localYet while the origins of the flash mob are of some dispute, there’s this new viral thing going around called the “cash mob.” And everyone knows when these babies began.

What’s a cash mob?

Read below to find out.

A cash mob, as it’s been recently coined, is a new wave of supporting local businesses, an initiative that’s sprouted to date across a few U.S. locales.

*Bing: Watch the web’s best flash mob videos

The first, back in August in Buffalo, was organized by an engineer, who riled up neighbourhood residents to descend on a small-town store, armed with cash. Each participant brings, say, $20 to spend, and in the organized troupe goes and infuses some much-needed money on struggling businesses.

“There are a lot of independent businesses that are having a hard time trying to creatively figure out a way to pay the bills,” one of the cash mob organizers told MSNBC.

Added another cash mob founder: “If one person goes into a local business and spends $20, that’s great. That’s $20 that went to a local business. But if 40 people go into a local business and spend $20, that’s $800 that just went to that local business.”

You’d stop short of calling cash mobs charity cases, though they certainly are a pick-me-up in times when, frankly, they’re needed at most stores not named Walmart.

“To see our store full of people who are looking and shopping and admiring is fabulous,” said one owner whose store was the site of a cash mob this month.

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...