Tampa's Cash Mob will make its first hit this Saturday when it invades in Old Seminole Heights. Its mission? To help promote local business.
Gregory Curtis, owner of Cleanse Apothecary, has never experienced a Cash Mob and was surprised when he was contacted to hold the event, but he's delighted to have his business chosen.
"They've been on the news in different cities but I've never experienced anything like this," Curtis said. "I think it's great that people from different communities are rallying together to support local business. It's great to see that people are aware of how important local businesses are to the community."
The Cash Mob's mission is to support local and independent businesses in Tampa Bay (specifically in the vicinity of the University of South Florida campus) by having participants "hit" a location nominated by members of the group every month. The businesses have to meet the following requirements:
- The minimum amount to spend is $10, but the business must have products available for less than $10 for both men and women.
- The business must be locally owned and independently operated.
- The business owner must give back to the community in some way, or the business must be something that brings the community together.
- Ample parking and public transportation must be available.
- Must be within a 10-mile radius of the University of South Florida.
The USF connection is important since part of the reason the group was created is to get students involved. The main focus, however, remains on the businesses and the shop local movement.
"We're doing this raise awareness for local business so we can encourage people to buy local products," said Tampa Cash Mob co-founder Rani Chehal. "Cleanse has been there for two years and a lot of people still don't know that it's there. This is our first ever Cash Mob function, and we're excited to have it in Seminole Heights and at Cleanse, which was one of the first places nominated."
Many of the Cash Mob members are local business owners looking to support their community, according to Chehal. Saturday is their first chance to grow their membership and encourage others to join the local movement.
"We have a lot of creative minds that like supporting mom-and-pop shops," Chehal said. "To me, it's important to let people know these businesses exist and support the places that make Tampa unique. We hope to grow this group significantly with a great event every month."
The event will begin at 11 a.m. on Saturday, June 9, at , 5127 N. Florida Ave. For more information, visit the Tampa Cash Mob Facebook page.