With cash in hand and on a mission to support the local economy, 30 “mobsters” gathered at the clock tower on Main Street on Saturday afternoon to mob the Rosebud Cottage.
The cash mob, which was organized by Venture Local and executed by a diverse group of business owners, residents and people who had just heard of the idea moments before, was orchestrated to offer a quick boost to a local business.
The general idea of a cash mob is to encourage people to go into small, locally owned businesses and commit to spending their money, en masse, to give the business owner a little bit of economic stimulus.
“The first cash mob was great! We had over 30 people show up who committed to spend $20 in our gift shop and sandwich shop,” said Martha Holbrook, owner of Rosebud Cottage. “Other guests who were there enjoyed the fun and social atmosphere and loved the concept.”
Cash mobs can help out small local businesses who are in trouble, whether due to a temporary financial hardship or loss of revenue due to competition from other stores or they can help a new business by providing them with exposure. They can also help to bring communities together to support a common cause. Another benefit is that not only shoppers can organize a cash mob; businesses can put out the call for shoppers to come to their store as well.
“Small events like the cash mob are just grassroots, low cost ways to introduce businesses or just remind folks about long-time local businesses and how important it is to support them and keep their doors open,” said Holbrook. “Small, local businesses contribute so much to the community, as friends and neighbors, by hiring employees, and making up the charm and character of the town, which makes it a great place to live or visit. By having more small events falling between the bigger festivals we hope to continue the momentum.”
In order to be eligible for the cash mob, the business, which is selected through nominations by people who attend the cash mob, must be locally owned and must agree to give back to a local nonprofit.
“An important part of Cash Mob Franklin is the ‘paying it forward’ partnership,” said Matt Bateman, member of Venture Local. “This partnership is between each business that is being ‘mobbed’ and, a local non-profit or charity. The business gets the boost and exposure from the Cash Mob, and the non-profit or charity gets a donation from the business. To name a few, a donation can be a percentage of sales for that day, volunteer hours at a non-profit, or a canned food/coat drive. Venture Local Franklin believes that partnerships like these help to strengthen a community, making for a better place to live and visit for us all.”
Holbrook chose to partner with the Smoky Mountain Pregnancy Care Center as her way of “paying it forward.”
“I am going to make up gift bags with some soap, lotions, tissues from Rosebud Cottage for the care center to give to clients,” said Holbrook.
Everyone who attended Saturday's event had the opportunity to nominate the next Cash Mob. The diverse group of nominees included Outdoor 76, the Rusty Rainbow, the Rathskeller, Shuler's Country Store, Life's Bounty, Ace Hardware, the Main Street Pizza Company and Tallent's Produce to name a few. Holbrook drew the new business to be mobbed, which was Ace Hardware. The date of the mob will be announced at a later date.
Venture Local, which is a grassroots, community- driven initiative, is hard at work brainstorming on new and innovative ways to promote Franklin. In August they are launching “Franklin Rocks.” A way to beautify Franklin, add extra seating for visitors and just an easy way to come together as a community, Venture Local came up with Franklin Rocks to add some individual flair to the community. “Another low cost, grassroots initiative to create some fun and character for the town,” said Holbrook. “Anyone can participate, all you need to do is get a rocking chair, paint it, decorate it, and set it out in front of your business. Lots of rocking chairs will be memorable and especially if they are attention- getting. We would also like to have a contest. Upload a photo on Venture Local’s Facebook page of your rocking chair in front of your business, judges will choose a winner, and a trophy will be awarded to keep in the business as a conversation piece.”
Venture Local will also be holding the next StreetFest on Aug. 17 in downtown Franklin. After the positive feedback from the first StreetFest which was held last month, Venture Local hopes the next event will have even more visitors. Weather permitting, “Grease” will be the featured “Movies on Main” show in the Town Hall parking lot and will be projected on a 26-foot tall movie screen. Local musicians will be providing entertainment on both ends of Main Street.
For more information about Venture Local Franklin visit their facebook page or join them for their next “community hang-out” which will be held Thursday, Aug. 30, at the Rathskeller.