It’s Cash Mob time again, peeps, and we just love the concept.
For many Gorge businesses — in particular, those that depend on tourism — winter is always a bleak season. Visitors hunker down wherever they live, and the flow of cash to Gorge stores ebbs to a trickle.
This winter was worse than usual. One restaurant owner said revenues were down 25 percent more than usual this year. Ouch!
So that’s why it was exciting to learn about the Gorge Owned Business Network’s Winter Recovery Cash Mobs project on March 18.
On that Saturday — coming up — GO! will host a series of large scale cash mobs in an effort to lift the economic gloom that the record-breaking winter cast on locally-owned businesses.
Courtney Christenson, executive director of GO!, says business owners with whom she has spoken “report layoffs and high anxiety about the future of their shops’ survival.”
“These cash mobs are an education campaign about the importance and value of shopping locally, but we’re also ready to celebrate the end of this winter. It’s been hard on everybody. We all need a day to emerge from hibernation and hit the streets as a community to support these businesses.”
Christenson reminds us all that those locally-owned businesses get frequent requests — and give often from their limited resources — to support schools, clubs, and other community initiatives.
“Now is a good time to help support them after a really challenging winter,” she says.
Rather than encouraging shoppers to “mob” a single establishment, Gorge Owned is encouraging a day for locals and tourists alike to descend on Gorge downtowns and commercial corridors to shop at dozens of participating shops and restaurants.
Many of them will be offering special sales or promotions for the occasion, and numerous raffle or door prizes for shoppers.
From noon to 5 p.m. that day, Gorge Owned will have home bases in three locations: Sedition Brewing on Laughlin Street in downtown The Dalles, AniChe Cellars on Oak Street in downtown Hood River, and Red Bluff Tap House in downtown Stevenson.
Cash mob shoppers can contact Gorge Owned volunteers at these locations to get a free organic cotton tote bag featuring artwork from local artist Anna Laxague (while supplies last), and a program directing them to participating businesses.
Shoppers can return to any of the three locations before 5 p.m. to enter the raffle with more than a dozen prize packages. The extensive raffle includes gift certificates and gift baskets, local artwork, museum memberships, performing arts season passes, ski lift tickets, and more.
For every locally-owned business that customers patronize (no minimum purchase), they’ll receive one entry in the raffle.