The Greater Kirkland Chamber of Commerce held a Cash Mob last weekend for newly established franchise Rocket Fizz located on Central Way.
A cash mob is similar to a flash mob, in that it is a sudden gathering of individuals at a designated time and place. But instead of dancing, the cash mob is an act of goodwill by the business community to give a local business a revenue boost by spending a minimum amount of money.
“In some cases, it is done if a valued business in the community is going through a hardship,” said Bruce Wynn, executive director of the Greater Kirkland Chamber of Commerce. “Other times it’s done because it makes Chamber members feel valued that they can do something tangible to help a fellow chamber member. Other times because it is simply fun.”
The Kirkland Chamber first began hosting cash mob events after The Greater Edmonds Chamber of Commerce used a cash mob to help Edmonds family-owned grocer, Petosas, when it was in peril in 2012.
“The owner had given so much to the community and the businesses, and residents of Edmonds wanted to rescue it,” Wynn said. “Hundreds showed up to buy something from the store.”
The Kirkland Chamber has hosted cash mobs at four other local businesses, including Simplicity Décor, Sur La Table, Common Folk, and Savrika Tea. Since then, chambers in Issaquah and neighborhoods of Seattle have followed suit in their own communities according to Wynn.
Rocket Fizz became the latest benefactor of the cash mob after being open only a few months. The franchise location opened in October just in time for the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. Jennifer Dixon, owner of the franchise, said business was booming through December but, like many businesses, she saw a noticeable dip in foot traffic accompanying the arrival of the new year.
“Until we hit January we were cruising along pretty well,” Dixon said. “But January has been quiet. (The Chamber) told me that’s why they wanted me to do (the cash mob), because we are a new business opening when things are generally in a seasonal slow-down in the area.”
Chamber members who attended the cash mob echoed Dixon.
“I think this is a great idea because you want to promote the small businesses and It’s hard to start businesses in the winter. Nobody wants to go out in the rain and with the construction that’s been happening,” said Arianne Burnham, housing and care specialist at Silver Age Referrals.
There’s no telling which Kirkland business will be hit with a cash mob next, but it is clear that Wynn intends to keep hosting the events.
“I love doing cash mobs because it brings the chamber community together to make Kirkland a great place to live and work,” Wynn said. “The owner of the business that is being mobbed is in a state of disbelief that the community cares about them and wants to help them out.”