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February 25, 2013

‘Cash Mob’ Saturday: Your $20 can help revitalize downtown

NEW CASTLE — You are cordially invited to be part of a mob Saturday in downtown New Castle.

Don’t worry. There’s nothing unsavory afoot. To the contrary, the idea is part of a plan to bring new life to the central business district.

Conceived by the New Castle Revitalization Committee for New Visions, the “cash mob” asks local residents to gather at 11 a.m. Saturday at Washington Centre, where they will receive the name of a downtown merchant. Participants will then proceed en masse to the chosen business, where they will be asked to spend $20 each.

The event will take place on the first Saturday of every month, with a different merchant to be chosen each time.

“It’s going to be a fun event,” said Carrie Goff, chairwoman of the sponsoring committee. “But also, it will get people into the downtown stores, seeing what they have and getting them used to shopping back downtown. We also want to try to generate some revenue for those merchants, and then we want to help bring additional merchants into the downtown.”

Organizers also hope to attract some attention from others who may see what’s going on and want to know more.

“Everybody goes at once – like a mob,” Goff said. “We’re going to have signs that say ‘Stand Up for New Castle,’ and some of us have sweatshirts that say that. Together, we’re going to walk as a mob to the merchant.

“And after, we’re encouraging everyone to have lunch at a downtown restaurant. That’s why we set it up for 11 o’clock, so we’d finish up around lunch time.”

While participants won’t be given the name of the day’s merchant until the morning of the event, the chosen business will have advance notice, Goff added.

“We want them to be able to items that will be within the ($20) price range, or gift certificates.”

The idea may be new to New Castle, but it’s not without precedent. Indeed, organizers consulted with a Grove City group that has been staging the same type of event.

“Cash mobs are popping up all over the United States,” Goff said. “It’s not a political or social organization; it’s simply a grass roots effort of people trying to make a positive impact on the businesses in their communities.”

For more information about the cash mob, call Angie Mohr at Cray Youth & Family Services, (724) 654-5507, or check out the Facebook pages New Visions for Lawrence County or Stand Up for New Castle.



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