Mark Walerysiak Jr., Community Liaison of Bristol Rising!
A couple years ago, we had a thought that we wanted to do more to highlight local businesses, but it had to accomplish more than just marketing. It had to mean something.
It had to educate people as to why it was important to spend at locally owned businesses—how the dollars circulate thru the locality, how a buyer’s choice can even lead to lower taxes— if that light bulb could go off, we could have something special.
It was around that time we heard about a cool concept being done around the country called Cash Mobs.
The easiest way to explain it is that a Cash Mob is the opposite of a boycott. Citizens choose a local business to “mob” for a single day by inviting as many community folks together to spend a suggested minimum amount of, say, $10 at that business, to give them a shot in the arm both monetarily and visibility-wise.
The other aspect is, as mentioned, educational—explaining why it’s important. Here’s why. Studies have shown that when you spend money at a local business in your City as opposed to national chains, as much as three times more money stays and re-circulates locally -- even as much as 60-70 cents on every dollar versus as little as 10 cents on a dollar from nationals. That’s a big difference, but it doesn’t mean we want the Walmarts and Ruby Tuesdays to leave. There’s a place for everyone to play. However, we do want Bristol and especially downtown to thrive as a self-sufficient community with authentic local businesses that help make us a uniquely Bristol destination, apart from the pack.
So far, with three mobs under our belt, the results are impressive and encouraging. In 2012, we broke a restaurant’s single-day patronage record by 3 p.m. In 2013, a new tea house gained more than 100 new customers. In 2014, a long-standing pizza house’s profits soared as they gained attention on TV news and radio stations.
When we talk Bristol Rising, it means boosting local assets, encouraging new ones, but also raising the awareness of what can be done today. Consider a Cash Mob for your community, or visit the one we’re planning in August at the American Clock & Watch Museum! Best of luck, Connecticut!
Visit bristolrising.com for future details.
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