Commentary: Support Cash Mobs for Black Communities

With targeted spending, people across the country are coming together to save their local businesses, and Black neighborhoods should do the same.

Posted: 05/02/2012 02:12 PM EDT
Cash Mobs, black businesses

Ever walk through your neighborhood and wonder what happened to the old Black-owned businesses you used to love? A new community craze, cash mobs, is sweeping the country and infusing local businesses with critical sales that can help keep the doors open and the community authentic. It's time Black communities jump on the cash mob bandwagon to help our local businesses weather the current economic storm.

The cash mob model organizes members of a community to choose one day to “mob” a local business with sales. After a business is identified, participants are asked to convene at a specific place and time, and then spend at least $20 on goods at the store.

Since the idea started in Cleveland, nearly 200 cash mobs have cropped up in 35 states and a handful of countries.

“The general idea is to encourage people to go into small, local businesses and spend their money, en masse, to give the business owner a little bit of economic stimulus. We’d help businesses grow, we’d make people happy, we’d get stuff for ourselves, have a great time, and maybe we’d get a drink to celebrate afterward,” says the Cash Mobs blog run by Andrew Samtoy.

Although the latest census data on Black-owned enterprises showed a triple fold increase from 2000 to 2007, overall, only 7 percent of all U.S. based businesses were Black-owned.

In addition to larger, more altruistic reasons to support your local mom and pop shop, small businesses are also a great creator of local employment opportunities. According to a new survey, even amid the current economic strain, four out of 10 small businesses said they were adding new jobs this year.

Cash mobs can be a double-win for Black communities by helping maintain the character of historically Black neighborhoods amid the tide of gentrification and infusing money into enterprises that have a connection to the communities they serve.



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(Photo: John Coletti/Getty Images)

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