Camden rallies support for cash mob
Camden — A Cash Mob will convene at a Camden business sometime in the near future. Camden Development Director Brian Hodges launched a Cash Mob Camden Maine Facebook page Friday, July 27, and by Tuesday, July 31, the fledgling fan page had attracted 136 fans.
Hodges said he was "pleasantly surprised" by the enthusiastic reaction. He said the rapidly growing Facebook fan base was "indicative of the interest and engagement of the community."
A Cash Mob is classified as a group of people who take a local business by storm, typically spending about $20 cash on goods or services offered at that business in a short period of time. Cash Mobs help create an influx of cash and generate interest in a local business. Hodges said the trend is increasingly popular nationwide and that Cash Mobs in Portland and Sanford have been successful. Though he's never organized one before, he said he is eager to try the outside-the-box business-boosting strategy in Camden.
"Not many towns in Maine have done [Cash Mobs]," he said.
Hodges added he thinks Camden is a great community to give the trend a shot.
"I look at Camden often times as being an example of what a successful downtown can look like," he explained.
Hodges said he has yet to select a business to host the inaugural Camden Cash Mob but wants to begin with a business that "participates in the community or needs more exposure." He said he'll meet with the business owner to ensure they are enthusiastic — and equipped — to handle an influx of an estimated "20 to 30" customers coming in at once. With a $20-a-head cash spending goal Hodges said the Cash Mob will provide the chosen business with a "significant boost to the bottom line."
Hodges noted the Cash Mob is not limited to a one-time event.
"This is certainly something that is going to be replicated," he explained, noting multiple events will give businesses an ample opportunity to reap the benefits of the Cash Mob by participating.
Hodges said numerous businesses have volunteered to be the first visited by the Cash Mob.
"Every business in Camden is eligible for this," he said. "It's nice goodwill."
He said secrecy in advance is key, but plans to use social media, fliers and an email list to provide updates about the Cash Mob effort. While Hodges has yet to meet with members of The Downtown Business Group about the effort, he said he has noticed individual members as well as Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce have shared the link to the Cash Mob Camden Maine Facebook page on their own pages.
Hodges said there is "no time frame yet" for the first Cash Mob. He said in addition to the enthusiastic response on Facebook he has gotten excellent reactions from fellow staff at Camden Town Office.
"I thought I'd have a little more time!" Hodges said. "It's growing very fast."
Hodges said those interested in updates on the development of a Camden Cash Mob can call or email him at the Camden Town Office — 236-3353— to be added to the notification list.
"I'm looking forward to this as much as anyone," Hodges said.
Courier Publications reporter Jenna Lookner can be reached at 236-8511 or by email at email@example.com.