A South Park retailer received an unexpected influx in business Tuesday night when a group of San Diegans held the city's first "Cash Mob."
Each of the two dozen people who participated bought at least $20 worth of merchandise from "Make Good", a store that only sells items from local artists.
"If one person goes into a local business and spends $20 that's great,"said “Cash Mob” San Diego organizer Lauren Way. "If 40 people spend $20 that's $800 that went into that local business."
"Make Good" owner Sophia Hall was honored to be picked by the Cash Mob.
"They've all been at work today, taking care of their families and choosing to spend their dollars in such a generous way, I think it's amazing," she said.
Cash Mobbing plays on the idea of a Flash Mob – the sudden public performances used to bring attention to anything from corporate greed to new video games. Instead of performing a dance or song though, the group of Cash-Mobbers floods local, independent businesses with $20 in hand, and spends it on desired merchandise.
Mobbers find out which store was selected moments before the event starts.
"We keep it secret so that people don't say 'I don't really want anything from there,'” said Way. “Also it's part of the fun of the game."
The Cash Mob trend started last month in Cleveland, Ohio by San Diego native Andrew Samtoy and has since spread to several other cities. He and a friend gathered supporters on Twitter and Facebook, mostly friends. They mobbed a local bookstore, bringing in $800 that the store probably wouldn’t have seen otherwise, Samtoy said.
“This isn’t going to save any small businesses and it’s not meant to,” Samtoy said in a previous NBCSanDiego.com interview. “We’re just trying to get people to notice that these small businesses exist and to patronize them.”
Among the criteria for picking a shop to mob, the group typically patronizes stores that give back to the community in some way -- and the shop has to be near a local watering hole, for socializing afterward.