Locals hope ‘cash mobs’ will stimulate small businesses in Fayetteville

There are a lot of things to love about Fayetteville. The Farmers’ Market, Dickson Street, Wilson Park, Old Main Lawn, Razorback Stadium, Mount Sequoyah Cross. We could go on and on.

Arguably, however, what really separates Fayetteville from other cities around the region are the amazing locally-owned business that operate here, and locals Sally Williams and Caitlyn Covey are hoping to make sure those local places continue to thrive.

Williams and Covey are planning a series of “cash mobs,” or organized en masse shopping events where large groups converge on a business, and are asked to spend $20 each on the same day at a pre-selected local place. The idea is to give some local businesses a boost when they need it most.

Williams said that the concept has worked well to provide a much needed stimulus for local businesses in other markets.

“I found the article about the cash mob concept in an online business journal a little over a week ago,” Williams said. “The next day I mentioned it to Caitlyn Covey…I also contacted the people in Cleveland that set up the first ones. They gave me some guidance on how to get the ball rolling.

“I spent the weekend and early part of the week discussing the project with various people and the feedback I received was overwhelmingly positive,” she said.

To get stated, Williams and Covey are working on creating a committee of interested folks who will help her decide what businesses to “mob.”

“I hope to have community input on what businesses to select,” she said. “The basic criteria is it must be locally owned business, not a franchise or chain. Then the committee will chose a target business.”

The first cash mob event is set for Sunday, Feb. 26 at Nightbird Books, and more events are in the works. Williams said the plan is to visit a local business every 4-6 weeks.

“We have no political agenda and I hope to make it clear that this is not part of the Occupy movement or anything of that nature,” she said. “I firmly believe that small, locally owned business is integral to a strong community.”

More information about the first Fayetteville cash mob can be found on this Facebook event, and you can also follow along on a newly-created Facebook page for the local cash mob group.