Cash Mobs target, bombard Cincinnati businesses

In a fun take on the Flash Mob public performance phenomenon, groups of friends and strangers are Cash Mobbing local businesses. Instead of meeting in a preplanned spot to dance and/or sing for unknowing crowds in Flash Mob fashion, a Cash Mob (with the OK of the owner) targets local shops, mobbing them with $10 and $20 bills in a fast-paced shopping spree.

A New York blogger and engineer organized the first Cash Mob in 2011. The socially organized events made their way to Cincinnati – via Cleveland – this year. The first mob came together in Norwood; the neighborhoods of Deer Park and Silverton followed, and the first Cincy Cash Mob event is set for May 25, from 6 until 8 p.m. at Park + Vine in Over-the-Rhine.

Alice Rericha, a stay-at-home mom and serial community volunteer, organized the Norwood Cash Mob after hearing about one in Cleveland. She started Facebook and Twitter pages for the Norwood group and began inviting family and friends to join.

"It's a coming together of citizens who want to say, 'We support small businesses. We all come together at the same small, locally owned business and spend our money and time there,' " explains Rericha, who also lives in Norwood.

The first Norwood Cash Mob was at Murray Brothers Old Time Store; an "After Mob" event was held at Quatman Cafe. Since the group has held three other Cash Mob and After Mob events at local restaurants. Once the word got out, the other groups sprang up, Rericha says. Mobbers are asked to spend at least $20.

The first business was a little surprised when Rericha called to explain the Cash Mob, but once the customers showed up, things went just fine. Some owners have even suggested other businesses to contact, Rericha says.

"When you explain what it is, you see when they start to understand and their eyes light up. They always say, 'This sounds good,' " she says.

Rericha says Cash Mobs are a great way to support businesses owners, forge friendships and to highlight local businesses.

"I moved here in 2007, and have met so many people," she says. "In my planning, I've found so many businesses that I just didn't even see before. Now I know the owners and have relationships with them. When you buy from a small business, you are supporting a neighbor."

Written by Feoshia Henderson
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