A mob of more than 40 people with cash in hand gathered in downtown Waynesville on Thursday evening with one mission in mind: to spend money at a local business.
Pulaski County Cash Mob cofounders Jessica Dobbins and Ursula Lebioda announced to the group the target spot for the organization's kickoff was the Just Because retail store in Roubidoux Plaza.
Pulaski County Cash Mobbers then invaded the small store and purchased wine, cheese, jelly, and gift items of all sort. The group encourages each mobber to spend at least $20 at the targeted business within 24 hours after the announcement.
Just Because Owner Twyla Cordry said she was very excited to be selected as the first business selected by the Cash Mob.
“We were surprised, getting ready for our grand opening ceremony when the cash mob appeared,” she said. “They were all happy and joyful and it was a nice surprise. The Cash Mob is a great idea for this local community.”
Cordry said they had Pulaski County Cash Mobbers coming into her business throughout Friday as well.
Pulaski County Cash Mob was started by Dobbins and Lebioda earlier this month. A Cash Mob is a nation-wide initiative that gets a group of people to spend their money locally and help boost the local economy.
“It encourages people to spend their dollars locally and so that the money stays right here and services the community,” Dobbins said.
Dobbins and Lebioda used Facebook as their primary communication form and catalyst to promote the group's kickoff.
“Within the first week of launching our social media presence, we had more than 5,000 page views, which we thought was phenomenal,” Dobbins said. “And then to turn around and for that online activity to turn into actual people and money being spent in our community, that was awesome.
“We were thrilled with the turnout and more than that we were thrilled with the enthusiasm that the crowd had.”
The Pulaski County Cash Mob reinforces the importance of shopping at local businesses.
It is estimated that for every $100 spent at a locally-owned business, $68 stays in the local economy compared to only $43 if spent at a national chain.
Dobbins, who is a newcomer herself, also said the group helps promote and expose local businesses those who are new to the area don't know about.
“This a great opportunity for a newcomers to discover these locally owned gems that they wouldn't have heard about otherwise,” Dobbins said.
Lebioda, a long-time community member, said that the Cash Mob is a great way to unite people in Pulaski County and make a difference in the area.
Page 2 of 2 - “It's a great opportunity for newcomers and community members to get together and make an immediate impact in our community; not only spending money in a single business and making a huge impact but also by introducing the newcomer to area businesses and meeting other members of a community who make such a positive difference," Lebioda said.
Pulaski County Cash Mob meets twice a month to “mob” a business. On Dec. 2, Pulaski County Cash Mob will meet in St. Robert. Check their Facebook page for updates and details.