‘Cash Mob’ returns downtown

Roxanne Marshall shops downtown Marietta regularly, but hadn’t made it to Twisted Sisters Boutique in the 100 block of Front Street before.

That changed on Monday, when Marshall, 67, of Marietta, joined a mob.

It was ReStore Marietta’s first “Cash Mob” of 2013, picking up on a program started last year in which people gather at a predetermined location to go shopping en masse. The catch is they don’t know where they’re going until they get to the meeting place.

“I think that kind of puts the fun into it, that you don’t know what you’re shopping for,” said Makenzie Betts, 21, of Marietta, attending her first Cash Mob Monday.

Marshall may not have had a specific item on her shopping list, but it didn’t take her long to find a selection for Monday nor for her to realize the store’s inventory would bring her back.

“I like that they have the Vera Bradley things here,” she said. “(It’s a) wonderful place for gifts – and for myself, actually.”

Everybody in the mob agrees to spend at least $10 at the chosen destination. Although many people may associate Twisted Sisters with women’s gifts, about half of the 15 people who made up Monday’s mob were men and they didn’t hesitate to fulfill their pledge.

Charlie Clay, owner of Dad’s Primitive Workbench, another downtown shop, picked up a birthday present for his sister.

“I’ve done them and been mobbed,” Clay said. “It’s just fun to get together with the community and support small business and get to meet your peers.”

Attendance Monday was slightly down compared to last year when as few as 20 and as many as 50 attended 11 events, said Mallory Greenham, executive director of ReStore, a group that works to beautify, support and promote the downtown area.

The Cash Mob concept arrived in Marietta in January 2012, not long after ReStore board member Dave Schramm read an article about a similar event in Cleveland.

“We were one of the first 20 or 30 communities in the United States to cash mob,” Greenham said.

The weather sometimes plays a part, which is why the first Cash Mob of 2013 was held Monday instead of earlier in the year, she said.

A Unique Flower & Gift Shop at 152 Front St. was the target of the last Cash Mob of 2012.

“I think it’s a great experience,” owner Cheryl Lang said. “I think it gets people to actually shop downtown that maybe wouldn’t.”

She said a few of the folks who attended her Cash Mob hadn’t been to the shop before, and some of them came back. Like Clay, she enjoys attending Cash Mobs at other stores.

Most of them have a good selection of items in the $10 minimum purchase range, Lang said, which means people don’t have to buy something they don’t really want.

“It’s just a nice time,” she said. “You can go and participate, but you don’t have to dedicate a lot of time.”

The event can be extended with the “after-mob” event at a local restaurant, where participants can have a themed cocktail and vote for the location of the next Cash Mob.

The fact that their shop was chosen by shoppers was a bonus for Debbie Cline, a partner in Twisted Sisters.

“(We’re) very thankful. It’s very kind,” she said. “We’re thrilled that ReStore does this.”