A national phenomenon aimed at boosting local businesses is coming to Portland on Thursday, March 22. A software and web development company, Local Thunder, has organized the city's first Cash Mob, where participants will converge to patronize a local business.
A take on the popular "flash mob" -- where people gather at a specified location to sing, dance or perform -- a cash mob organizes people to visit a local business at a certain time and place. The name of the business won't be released until the start of the event, says Suzanne Gagnon, office manager at Local Thunder. "It adds a sense of mystery and fun to the event."
Participants are asked to meet at Monument Square at 5:30 p.m. with $20 to spend at the business. An after-party of sorts at a local watering hole, again to be named at the event, will follow. The names of the businesses will be given to participants at the start of the event, as well as shared through Facebook and Twitter. Gagnon says the company hopes to get 50 people to the event.
The first business intended to benefit from the cash mob was selected through an in-house analysis of local businesses that could use a boost and were supportive of their community, says Gagnon. Local Thunder then approached the business to see if it was interested.
A Cleveland attorney, Andrew Samtoy, is credited with starting the cash mob movement with an event held in Ohio in November. The goal of a cash mob, according to his blog, is to provide an economic stimulus to a small, local business.
Local Thunder, a website and software development company, decided to organize a cash mob in Portland because "our business is all about supporting small- to medium-sized local businesses," says Gagnon. Local Thunder develops marketing and directory platforms for membership-based organizations, like the online business directory for Portland Downtown District's website.
The event also coincides with the launch of its new website, gr8portlandme.com, an online directory of Portland businesses that includes a map, photos and coupons.
Local Thunder hopes to hold monthly cash mobs, selecting local businesses in Portland that sell small-ticket items of $20 or less and could use a boost. "We wanted to add a little something to winter in Portland, and some fun," says Gagnon.