A Cash Mob
“It was an amazing experience to receive,” says Jim Hayden, owner of The Bagel Maker in downtown Panama City. His small business was one of the first of many businesses “cash mobbed” and filled with customers seeking to spend or donate money to support the local businesses of Bay County. “Thank you for supporting local small businesses. I think the Loyal to Local program will do amazing things for our county and we are so happy to be a part of it.”
Mr. Hayden could not have been more right! The Bagel Maker was mobbed back in 2012, and three years later the Bay County Loyal to Local Cash Mob is still helping numerous businesses grow. This is all done by boosting their community visibility during the mobbing and infusing them with cash donations or purchases so they can keep their doors wide open!
The Cash Mob was founded and organized by Kristi Kirkland, owner of Answer Marketing, a business acceleration firm located in historic St. Andrews. Kristi stumbled upon the idea of a “cash mob” while doing research for a client article she was writing. “I thought it would be a really fun way for us to give back to our community at some of these locally-owned Mom and Pop businesses we sometimes forget about.” With this thought in mind and the skill set she holds as the business owner of a marketing company, Kristi set out to help bring the community together.
As she soon found out, she was not the only one with the hopes of renewing the locals’ sense of community. She talked with several of her professional friends about supporting this effort, and in describing how this opportunity could provide the community with the boost it needs to thrive, she gained the first members of the Cash Mob. This common desire to find ways to pay it forward and have fun doing it with other locals is how the Bay County Loyal to Local Cash Mob was rapidly formed.
This local group that anyone can be a part of is dedicated to the support of businesses and the encouragement of reaffirming a sense of community. The purpose of any endeavor, no matter the cause, could not be carried out if not for the hardworking people who make it all happen. If a sense of community could be personified it would look like the members of the cash mob, who not only make it a priority to support locally-owned businesses but who also come together for a bigger purpose besides their own driving need for success. These selfless and determined members make the Cash Mob’s mission an effective one.
The Cash Mob is not only drawing the attention of the county’s business owners but its residents as well. Multiple businesses that have been mobbed in the past have had customers come in at a later date and comment on seeing online the “mobbing” that took place. Overall you can see the amazing growth that is taking place in the community. Many new clients and awareness are being brought to these local businesses and non-profits, helping to bring a renewed source of income to the community.
Visit the Cash Mob’s website at www.L2LBayCounty.com to read about over 20 different businesses that have written about their experience and have thanked the group for all the good they've done. From restaurants, non-profits, and art galleries to bookshops, community groups and consignment shops, the cash mob is always looking to renew a sense of local Bay County pride by encouraging every type business to get involved. The cash mob’s latest mobbing occurred at Floriopolis in St. Andrews in March. Heather Parker, the Creative Director at Floriopolis, thanks the Cash Mobbers for helping to bring awareness to her non-profit art gallery. “The more people who know about us, the better. It’s fantastic!” Parker says. She describes the cash mob as “super” for being a group dedicated to the awareness and success of local businesses.
The Loyal to Local Cash Mob has renewed its community efforts this year, continuing to be a blessing by bringing paying customers and recognition to awesome locally-owned businesses. If you know of a business in need of a little Cash Mob love, the Loyal to Local group has a nomination form on its site and is always looking for a great suggestion.
There seems to be no slowing down with the group anytime soon, and locals can look forward to more Cash Mobbings each month!
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