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BUSINESS: An invitation to join the Mob

Posted by homewoodnation on June 1, 2012 at 3:30 PM

Most folks who make extensive use of today's communication technology - smartphones, Twitter, Facebook - are familiar with flash mobs. But have you heard of a cash mob?


Wikipedia defines a cash mob as "a group of people who assemble at a local business and all buy items from that business. The purpose of these mobs is to support both the local businesses and the overall community. They may also serve a secondary purpose in providing social opportunities."


Vernard Alexander, founder of the Minority Networking Exchange, has pioneered the use of cash mobs to support Black businesses in Pittsburgh. Tomorrow, he wants to get as many people as possible to join him to spend money in Homewood.


In his Facebook invite, he writes,

"We will bless ONE businesses and meet up for optional "debriefing" at a 2nd Homewood Business!

The group will walk to the business (no one knows the location except the business owner and I). We "mob" (support/bless) the business with the support of the group...

Purpose: To bless local businesses with infusion of cash

My goal is that 50 people come out and "bless" the business with $10.00 each. Bring a friend or family member. No one will leave “hungry” after this special mob. (Brunch)

I believe we can collectively spend $1,000 on June 2nd!"


Actually, that invite needs an update: He just told me that he wants to tomorrow's mob to visit three businesses, which may be a record for cash mob hits.


Alexander said that he learned about cash mobs from a friend,  J.E. Gamble, who showed him a news clip from a Cleveland television station about a lawyer who began organizing cash mobs there, not just to bless businesses, but to counteract the negative publicity generated by youth who "flash mobbed" to rob businesses.


Cash mobs have spread to 150 cities nationwide, he said, adding, "I believe that I'm the only one doing it in support of Black businesses in Black neighborhoods."


That is, with the possible exception of author and speaker George Fraser, CEO of FraserNet, who used his national reach to rally consumers to cash mobs in seven cities on May 19.


Still, Alexander beat him to the punch, time-wise. He held his first cash mob on March 31st, at 720 Music, Clothing and Cafe in Lawrenceville.


"It went really well, " he said, drawing between 25 and 30 people who collectively spent between $600 and $800.


Since then, he has organized cash mobs monthly, visiting Ujamaa Collective in the Hill District in April and Carmi Family Restaurant on the North Side in May.

So which ones will be "blessed" tomorrow? Sorry. To find that out, you have to join the Mob. 


The cash mob will assemble at 11:30 tomorrow morning in the parking of CCAC's Homewood-Brushton Branch, at Kelly Street and Homewood Avenue.

 

 

 

 

 



 

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