Back in March I told you about Roanoke’s first cash mob at Appalachia Press on Salem Avenue in downtown Roanoke. More than 100 shoppers turned out for the event, which encourages a large group of people to spend money at a particular local business.
I recently talked to John Park, the organizer of Roanoke’s cash mobs, which have continued monthly since March.
The mob has hit a Northwest Hardware store, Too Many Books in Grandin and Tinnell’s Finer Food in Crystal Spring. On Wednesday the group will mob B&D Comics, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary. And in August, Freckles, a vintage shop downtown, will be the group’s target.
There was some skepticism from blog readers about the idea when it first got started. One reader likened it to having a bull in a china closet. Another called it misdirected, and another called it silly.
But business owners whose stores have been the target of the cash mobs say the events are great for their business.
Rett Ward, owner of Tinnell’s, said that when about 80 people flooded his store in May, the store not only saw a significant increase in sales, but also some first-time customers.
“It was very exciting to meet new people that didn’t know that we were around,” he said. “We don’t have the ability to advertise like the big stores do, so that was an amazing way to get our face out to new people.”
Ward knew in advance that the event was happening and set up wine and cheese tastings. He also invited his local vendors to come in and give out samples of their products.
For more information on Roanoke’s cash mob, see the group’s Facebook page.