Based on the concept of flash mobs – groups that meet at predetermined, public locations to perform choreographed dances – Oro Valley is soon to introduce its Cash Mob program, and though vastly different in purpose, dancing is not discouraged.
The idea, which is still in development, is designed to benefit the community by encouraging residents to spend their money locally, and to have some fun while doing it.
“It’s a unique concept designed to replace the Dine Oro Valley program,” said Mayor Satish Hiremath. “We’re trying to do something that is bigger and better.”
Beginning March 21 at 4 p.m., and continuing on the third Thursday of each month, Cash Mob members will assemble at a place of business, pre-selected by staff and unknown to shoppers until a short time before, and spend $15 minimum. The idea is to create a socially-unique shopping experience.
“Participants are likely to be shoppers, organizations, and fellow business owners that are already involved in the community and are not necessarily concerned about what is on their current shopping list; rather they understand the importance of shopping locally and will enjoy the spontaneity and opportunity to meet people from the community,” said Economic Development Manager Amanda Jacobs, who is overseeing the project.
Initially, mobbers will meet at Town Hall to be told which store they will be shopping at.
For residents who may be running late, or unable to meet at Town Hall, Twitter will also be used to electronically notify those participants.
“As the program gains more followers and momentum, we will likely eliminate the initial meeting place (Town Hall) and just tweet or text the location directly to participants the morning of the event so they can show up at the store at the scheduled time,” said Jacobs.
Not immediately knowing which business they are likely to “mob” will also allow shoppers to discover new businesses in town they were previously unaware of.
“The element of surprise definitely adds another level of fun to the experience,” said Jacobs, who added that adjacent businesses would also gain from the extra foot traffic.
Participants will, however, need to provide their own transportation, unless taking advantage of a particular store’s website to make purchases.
For residents, the program offers another gain in the long run.
“When participants shop locally, they are helping local business succeed,” said Jacobs. “Sales tax collections for fiscal year 2011/12 were approximately $11.5 million. One hundred percent of that money goes directly towards public safety, new parks, trails, services, and facilities our community has asked for.”
After shopping, the Cash Mob will be encouraged to gather at a nearby eatery for further socializing – and if the mood strikes, perhaps even some dancing.
Partnering with the Greater Oro Valley Chamber of Commerce, town staff is in the process of bringing the idea of the Cash Mob to the attention of the public, having created a logo, webpage, YouTube video clip, social media accounts, and text messaging/email subscription notifications. The town will also include an article in its quarterly online edition of the VISTA newsletter. As the first Cash Mob event approaches, a press release will be issued to remind the public.
“Through the use of Facebook, Twitter, etc, we are going to try to mobilize a few hundred people to these business establishments,” said Hiremath.
For more information on the Cash Mob, visit the Oro Valley website at www.orovalleyaz.gov.