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Renton Cash Mobs Allow Shoppers, Businesses To Pay It Forward

A monthly cash Mob aimed at supporting downtown Renton businesses kicks off Sept. 18, 2012.

News of earlier this month.

But even before that recent sad news, Renton resident Emily Harris Griffin set out on a mission to keep the energy going.

“I’m powered by volunteering, and powered by my community,” she said.

Griffin's goal is to create a ‘pay is forward’ mentality and for the businesses and community to get involved in the downtown core by hosting cash mobs. ().

“I just say ‘pay it forward,’ and if you want to be involved, be involved,” she said. 

The mob mentality might not work for every business, she explained — as she spoke with Patch inside about her plan — pointing across the street at a business advertising $8 haircuts.

They can’t do 100 haircuts in an evening, but 100 people can walk in there and make appointments, she said.

And a cash mob doesn’t have to benefit just one business at a time. There are nearby shops that can benefit from the extra traffic, too.

Her plan calls for a ‘staging area’ at a restaurant or café where the mob can meet up and grab a drink before the event, then walk over to the business of the hour for the cash mob event.

The first lucky business in Renton to benefit from Harris’ plan is the Old Renton Book Exchange. Griffin sat down with owner Dacia Hanson on a recent afternoon to discuss her idea and ask for input.

Together, they decided to have the mob on Tuesday, September 18 — Farmers Market Day — at The Met before heading over to the Old Renton Book Exchange, which will extend its open hours until 8 p.m., or until the mob is ready to wrap up the party.

Cash mob participants can meet the group beforehand at The Met from 5-5:30 p.m. for coffee, wine, beer, or a bite to eat, or go straight to Old Renton Book Exchange after 5:45 p.m.

Each month the ‘mobbed’ business will get to choose the next staging area and featured business.

Hanson is excited to be the first business to benefit from Griffin's 'pay it forward' downtown Renton cash mob.

“I feel like it’s always the same,” she said about business, leveling her hand just below her brow. “I keep staying just above water.”

The second-hand book business requires volume, she said, adding that she needs to buy and sell a lot of books to make it work.

Hanson, who is a mother to a toddler son, concedes that there are extra marketing things she can do to promote her shop, but that it’s hard to do with a young child.

Hanson opened the Old Renton Book Exchange on 227 Wells Avenue South in March 2012. She currently stocks 40,000 titles in the 1,700-square-foot retails space.

Stay tuned for more information about the "pay it forward" Renton cash mob, and for more details on which downtown Renton business will get mobbed in October!

Richard Bray August 28, 2012 at 01:15 AM
What a creative way to focus attention on specific downtown businesses. I encourage Renton Patch to continue to spotlight the power of what one committed person can do to improve our community.
Sarah Eldridge August 28, 2012 at 10:32 PM
I love this!!!!!! What an awesome idea for that business to choose the next one.
Jenny Manning August 28, 2012 at 11:30 PM
I agree, Richard. Patch will continue to follow the cash mob for as long as it remains active. I'm excited to attend and cover the Sept. 18 mob at the Old Renton Book Exchange. I'll reveal the location of October's cash mob then!
Jenny Manning August 28, 2012 at 11:31 PM
Isn't it? Kudos to Emily Harris Griffin for thinking of, and implementing, such an innovative way to boost the downtown economy.

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