DUBLIN, Ohio-"Cash mobs" in this state continue to be a way for CUs to support local small business and demonstrate the credit union difference.

The Central Ohio Chapter of Credit Unions introduced its Cash Mob Series (Credit Union Journal, May 28) in May and has held a string of successful events each month, generating at least a 50% to 100% lift in average business for the shop compared with the same day a week earlier, the chapter reported.

Cash mobs, driven largely by social media communications, started last fall when Buffalo blogger Chris Smith envisioned using the purchasing power of so-called "flash mobs," in which a group of people connected via social media suddenly show up at one location, to help small businesses. Since then cash mob groups have formed in numerous cities across the country. During a cash mob each person is asked to spend $20 and pay full price for items.

"It's been going very well," said Jamie Crooks, marketing director for the $50-million Ohio HealthCare FCU. "We have had lots of involvement at every event and a wide variety of credit union folks show up for each cash mob. The business owners love what we are doing."


PDQ to the BBQ

August's cash mob was held at Gallo's Pit BBQ in Linworth, Ohio, and it saw an increase in sales by 66% over the previous Thursday. The owner, Nikki Gallo, recognized the work of credit unions, saying, "As a family owned and operated business in a challenging economy, we were thrilled with the significant sales boost we saw during the cash mob. Plus, I believe the word is spreading as we have had a steady stream of business coming in since."

The monthly series will continue through January, after which Crooks said the program may shift to bimonthly. "Right now each event is sponsored by one Chapter credit union. By reducing the number of cash mobs events we hope we can get a very large number of Chapter CUs hosting each cash mob, which will make the events bigger and even more beneficial to local businesses."

Crooks shared advice for any CU, or a group of credit unions, interested in starting a cash mob series. "Choose a business that is not specialized and appeals to a wide range of consumers. The only event we held that did not go as well most others was the one in which the business was specialized."

For info: Cash Mobs In Ohio

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