Vermont’s first Cash Mob, which hit Waterbury last week, will bring its largesse to Waitsfield this weekend.
On Saturday, March 24, at 2 p.m., Cash Mob participants are asked to assemble in the green behind the Bridge Street marketplace shops with some cash and be ready to spend it at a local business. Parking is just beyond the Darrad Computer entrance off of Route 100. Cash Mob targets will be disclosed at that point.
Cash Mobbing is a national sensation sweeping the U.S. Based on the flash mob concept, where a group provides a spontaneous song and dance in public places, Cash Mobs were designed as a spontaneous way to help locally owned businesses.
Hiata DeFeo, owner of Bridgeside Books in Waterbury, and a recent recipient of what is thought to be Vermont’s first Cash Mob, teamed up with Amy Odefey, Patty McKibben and Maureen McCracken to start a Waterbury Cash Mobbers’ movement. The first two scheduled events are this weekend’s Waitsfield Cash Mob and one in Waterbury on April 14 at 2:30 p.m.
“In the same way the community descended on my flooded neighborhood to help with what needed doing, we want Cash Mobs to descend upon local businesses to offer help with what's been broken,” said Amy Odefey, co-organizer and Randall Street resident. “The damage to our local businesses may not be as obvious as mud-covered belongings, but a vital asset – the customer base of state workers and flood-affected residents – was swept away by Irene. This asset can't just be rebuilt as easily as walls and floors were in my own home. I just want to pay it forward and save what I cherish in this community at the same time. Plus it's fun!”
“It was such a great experience to be chosen as one of Vermont's first Cash Mob businesses!” said Hiata DeFeo, owner of Bridgeside Books in Waterbury Village. “I had a great time, met wonderful new people and had a fantastic day of sales!”
Patty McKibben, co-organizer and Waterbury Center resident, said, “I am excited to be a part of the Cash Mobs as I see it as a great way to help bring some extra cash to the local businesses that were affected by Irene. We also hope the Cash Mobs will introduce new customers to our local businesses, as well as help maintain the great community spirit we have in Waterbury.”
The organizers credit Scott Pellegrini, a Burlington resident, for planting the seed and organizing a fun event in Waterbury on Sunday, March 4. Eric Warnstedt, owner/chef at Hen of the Wood Restaurant, and Mark Frier, owner of The Reservoir restaurant, also played a big role in planning that first Cash Mob and choosing Bridgeside Books as the recipient, where approximately 30 showed up to shop.
After the first field trip to Waitsfield on March 24, which is also National Cash Mob day, Cash Mob events are expected to be coordinated once every four to six weeks in the Waterbury area. The organizers want to preserve some of the surprise elements of a Cash Mob but also promote it so that more people will participate. To that end, dates and times will be published in advance, but destination businesses will not. Organizers expect to rotate the destination businesses and would also love to have more people involved in choosing the target business for each mob event.