Can a Mob Save Main Street?

We're mad, and we're not going to take it anymore!

We’re mad, and we’re not going to take it anymore! What am I talking about? All too often lately, we’ve heard about beloved or have had to .

As a community, the loss of these places is deeply felt. These are our friends, our neighbors. They are places that we visit regularly, just like Cheers where everybody knows our name. Small businesses like these are a big part of a small town’s character, not to mention its economic health.

So what’s to blame? The economy? Poor business model? Construction clogging up our streets and making downtown an unwelcome place to shop?

Rather than speculate or pass around the blame, I choose to believe in our community. There’s a reason I live in Castro Valley — I love it! Small-town charm, friendly people, plus I so I have lots of . I put on my thinking cap — what can I, average resident, do to help?

After talking with some other community members ( of CV Legends and Susan Soares with the Chamber), we decided to tap into a nationwide movement and create a Cash Mob.

A Cash Mob is like a Flash Mob, but instead of scaring people with our singing and dancing, we are pledging to join together and spend $20 at a local business.

The key to this is to pick a small business that is locally owned and in desperate need of cash. For this first mob, we’ve selected one San Lorenzo business and one Castro Valley business. If the community rallies and shows its support, we can have more cash mobs, maybe once a month. Maybe even expand to Ashland and Cherryland! (Whew!)

Between the communities of San Lorenzo and Castro Valley, we have 84,840 potential residents who can chip in. If every resident of all ages chipped in at least $20 to ONE business this year, do you know what an impact we could have? We could contribute $1,696,800 to our local businesses! A $1.7 million impact for your $20 contribution is a pretty big bang for your buck.

Now here’s what you can do to participate. March 24, 2012 has been designated National Cash Mob Day, and over 170 Cash Mobs will be taking place across the country and around the world.

The San Lorenzo Cash Mob will be from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., and from noon to 2 p.m. in Castro Valley. If you can’t make it during that time, just try to make it to one or both locations at some point in the day. We will reveal the locations early next week (gotta leave some suspense!).

Please spread the word, email your friends, connect with us on Facebook and Twitter (links below). Part of the fun is building community and meeting new people, and we can’t do this without your help! Let's see what our communities can do to help our one-of-a-kind local businesses.


Cash Mob Castro Valley

Cash Mob San Lorenzo

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Susan Beck March 20, 2012 at 03:39 PM
LOL! Maybe even expand to Ashland Cherryland. Good luck. The Chamber of Commerce took our Redevelopment money and addressed none of our needs - most especially the need for public transit access to grow our business district. The reason our business districts are dead is because our agencies and Chamber have not an ounce of creativity or interest in progressive, community-based approaches, and there is no accountability to their own policies. Unlike small businesses, they get paid whether we succeed or not. Good luck with your cash mob. I think we'll stick with dancing in Ashland Cherryland.
Susan Beck March 20, 2012 at 04:53 PM
A larger point, I guess, is that you will be hard pressed to find local businesses to meet all your needs, anywhere in the unincorporated area. Business development activities have focused on bringing in large chains and outside investment instead of investing in the skills and resources existing in our neighborhoods. I shop as local as possible for everything - which means I spend a lot of time shopping in business districts where agencies and cities have truly focused on local business development and transit access districts: Rockridge, Temescal, San Pablo Ave, College Ave. Both East 14th and Castro Valley Boulevard could be as vibrant with local business and packed with shoppers as any of those listed above. But our governance Boards, Redevelopment Agency and planning agencies have both encouraged outside big developers and corporate businesses, and more importantly, have not taken creative and pro-active action to grow a business district that reflects community character. This is where the Chamber, Redevelopment and the Planning Commission could have been more creative - there are models of success just down the road from us. Let me know when you get to Ashland Cherryland with your program. We can do a lot of shopping for liquor and candy.
Observer March 21, 2012 at 04:39 AM
Hi Heather, Great idea! Positive stuff, good, excellent. I love hearing creative ideas that could work. I am tired of hearing downer stuff like what this Beck person had to say. What a whiner! I will do it and I will encourage my friends and neighbors to do it. I think shopping in the unincorporated area just makes sense. Ashland, Castro Valley, Cherryland and San Lorenzo need to pull together and uplift us all economically. We live in a wonderful place with diverse, interesting people. Power to the People!


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