‘Cash Mob’ hits local businesses in Northern RI

By: Alexandra Cowley


It's a new approach to dealing with Rhode Island's stagnant economy. Cash mobs crowding into businesses with money to spend. Instead of flash mobs, cash mobs are helping businesses in northern Rhode Island. Taking matters into their own hands, to stimulate the economy.

For a year and a half the Northern Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce and Blackstone Valley Independent Business Alliance have been leading the 'cash mob' movement.

John Gregory, President of The Northern Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce says, “the only requirement is that you spend 20 dollars in each place.”

Once a month the group rushes one retail store and one restaurant.

Jeanne Budnick of The Blackstone Valley Independent Business Alliance helps pick which businesses they're going to hit.

“It's extremely important to make people realize they need to spend the dollar in Rhode Island in their community,”said Budnick.

The crowds are gathered through social media and are told where they're mobbing once they arrive. This time, they went to Elaine's Flowers in North Smithfield and Faial Restaurant in Smithfield.

Annette Birman, who owns Annie B's Honey Farm in Cumberland, likes to come out to support other local businesses.

“I've never been to Elaine's Florist shop or this restaurant so it's always a new adventure,” said Birman.

Close to 70 people mobbed the flower shop, bringing more sales than Elaine Morisseau has seen on a Wednesday night in her 28 years in business.

Morisseau said, “This is very important to us, it was fun, let's do it again tomorrow.”

The register closed out at Elaine's with 1000 dollars revenue.

“That's good on a Wednesday night, a lot more than I would have made otherwise,” said Morisseau.

Then it was on to dining at Faial Restaurant in Smithfield. 

Owner Joe Faria says,”I have no idea what's going on and they come in with a cash mob. What's that all about, I have no idea here, there are a bunch of them, a full house, everybody's happy and they're spending money.”

Faria says Wednesday nights are usually dead, but tonight it's packed and he can barely believe it!

“The economy must be getting better,” joked Faria.

There will be another mob next month. Only the business owners will know where, for everyone else, it's a surprise.

(C) WLNE-TV 2013