Cash MobMilford forms to help local businesses

A group of residents committed to supporting local businesses have formed Cash MobMilford, and on Saturday, Aug. 11, at noon, the members will be “mobbing” Given to Gauche and Collected Stories Bookstore in downtown Milford.

The concept of a cash mob is simple, organizers said. With money in hand, residents come together to shop — and spend — at a favorite local business.

Cash mobs, which are springing up across the country, reflect a growing concern about what the loss of locally run independent businesses will mean to the health of local economies.

“Locally run businesses are the heart of our business community,” said Mayor Ben Blake, who said he encourages residents to support local businesses.

Studies have shown that locally owned businesses return more money to their community than non-locally owned businesses; and small businesses produce over half of the private sector jobs, cash mob members said in a prepared statement.

Resident Tessa Marquis compared the new cash mob concept to the flashmob concept. In a flashmob, people show up at a pre-arranged place and time and do a crazy dance or freeze like statues.

A cash mob is similar, she said, but with the purpose of bringing attention and income to a worthwhile and valued local business.

There are several websites dedicated to the cash mob cause, and one notes that a cash mob event just took place in Venice, Fla., another in Royal Oak, Mich., and another in Brush, Colo. The website says that shopper flock to a scene with $20 in hand to support a favorite store.

Organizers of Milford’s event say that locally owned businesses, such as Given to Gauche, feature one-of-a-kind products. Shop owner and Milford native Susan Ashelford designs and hand-crafts fine jewelry, and her store features work by American artists and crafters. Ashelford has been involved in many successful downtown activities aimed at revitalizing the downtown community.

“I love that people think well not just of my business, but understand the value of supporting their local independent retailers,” Ashelford said.

Established seven years ago, Collected Stories Bookstore, owned by Susan Shaw, specializes in books on local history, fiction and literature as well as rare and first editions. The independent bookstore is an important part of the local business community and its owners are longtime Milford residents who are active in the community, said Beverley Pierson, organizer of the Saturday shopping event.

“Her son James, who attends Foran High School, is also employed at the store,” Pierson said.

“Spending at a locally owned businesses will not only help a particular business succeed, but help an entire community thrive,” Pierson added.

Some cash mob participants will be meeting at the Downtown Farmers’ Market just around the corner on River Street and Darina Place just before shopping time starts.

For more information contact Pierson at 203-283-1905.

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