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You may have heard of "flash mobs," where a mass of people invade a public space to make a scene. Now the idea has been turned on its head by "cash mobs," where large crowds of consumers show up at small businesses to spend money. But it's not just about propping up the local economy.
It's 5 o'clock on a Friday, and mostly quiet in the Lander's Men's Store, a mom-and-pop clothing store in Jamestown, N.Y. But shop owner Ann Powers is anticipating a mob.
"You get kind of nervous thinking, 'Oh, nobody is going to show up,'" she says. "Or else maybe there'll be so many people that the police will have to monitor."
About three dozen people turn out. "I actually bought a little tie for my son," says first-time cash mobber Tiffani Conti. "So, yup, everybody seemed to walk out of the store with something."
Lander's was chosen by the mob through a vote on its social media accounts. Powers says she feels lucky because this infusion of new customers helps her store stay afloat.
"Cash mob is good for any downtown little local business," she says. "We're dying. We're dinosaurs."
Read more at NPR