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Business groups seek to revive Cash Mobs

SHERIDAN — Sheridan’s Historic District Business Committee is looking for ways to bring new life to Sheridan’s locally owned businesses. In addition to efforts to rework the Cash Mob initiative, the small group of business owners brainstormed ways to entice a younger crowd of customers to shop Main Street.

The Cash Mob initiative, sponsored primarily by the Downtown Sheridan Association and the Sheridan County Chamber of Commerce, takes its name from the social phenomenon of a flash mob, where people organize online and agree to meet in a specific location and participate in collectively odd behavior. Flash mobs have featured people singing, dancing or “freezing” in place for several minutes, and have been embraced as a fun way to surprise passersby. A Cash Mob is when a group of shoppers surprise a business by stopping in to make a small purchase — about $20 — to provide  a small economic stimulus to the store owner.

While the HDBC organized successful Cash Mobs in the past, interest seemed to have waned as the project continued, and this year, the committee is hoping to refresh the idea to make it an effective tool to keep small businesses booming.

DSA Director Stacie Coe and Chamber CEO Dixie Johnson announced this year, new rules have been established for potential businesses to be mobbed. Candidate stores must be members of both the Chamber and DSA, must be small and independently owned. Shops that fit that criteria must then register with the DSA that they would like to be considered as a potential mob target, and from there, event locations will be selected at random.

“We want to make sure we’re serving our members the best,” HDBC Chairperson Jerry Foster said.

The selected location of the planned Cash Mobs, which will be Feb. 7, March 18 and April 10, all at 4 p.m., will have a meeting place announced one day prior to the scheduled mob. From there, the group will move to the surprise store to be mobbed. The committee also discussed the possibility of having the Cash Mob group meet at a restaurant or bar after the event to add social capital to the outing.

This year’s events are scheduled on varying days of the week in hopes of pinpointing a day when the function happens more successfully.

Businesses interested in being targeted by a Cash Mob can sign up by calling the DSA at 672-8881.

Also at Thursday’s meeting of Sheridan’s HDBC:

• Attending shop  owners provided a re-cap analysis of the Christmas shopping season and Men’s Night Out. This year, they said, was sluggish, largely due to the shorter shopping season and extreme cold spells that hit Sheridan.

• Johnson reported sales of Chamber Bucks were up significantly and shop owners agreed, saying they have processed a large number of gift cards since Christmas. The trend suggests shoppers were indecisive about what to buy.

• Businesses began preliminary planning stages for this summer’s Crazy Days sale.

About

Tracee Davis

Tracee Davis joined the staff at The Sheridan Press in July of 2013. She covers business, energy and public safety. Tracee grew up in Kemmerer and has lived in several locations both in the U.S. and overseas. Her journalism training stems from her military service.

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