Chamber uses new fad to promote businesses

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Heavenly Sweets’ Deb Gilliom, from left, and Tanya Marshall check out Cindy Davis during the recent cash mob event. (Photo by Robert Herrington)

The Noblesville Chamber of Commerce is taking advantage of a new trend to promote local businesses and draw merchants inside – cash mobs. The intent of the cash mob is to provide a financial and morale boost to a local business owner while giving the mobbers the opportunity to meet new people during the event.

“No one understands the concept yet,” said Alaina Shonkwiler, coordinator of the mobs for the chamber. “In this technology age, online (shopping) is so convenient. It’s also convenient to run downtown and buy.”

The first cash mob was March 27 at Linden Tree and the most recent was at Heavenly Sweets April 25.

“We’re very excited about being a part of the cash mob,” said Heavenly Sweets owner Tanya Marshall. “People now know we do cupcakes and are open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Friday and 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday.”

Shonkwiler said the events are hosted at chamber members as “a way for us to add value to our membership.” She said the focus was on downtown businesses initially, but mobs will start taking place throughout Noblesville.

“The plan right now is once a month,” explained Shonkwiler. “We may move to every other month. There’s no shortage of businesses that want to be mobbed.”

Cash mob events typically last two hours, but Shonkwiler said she thinks the chamber might possibly expand the mobs to be all-day events. The inaugural cash mob’s location was kept a secret until the mob formed on the downtown square and walked to Linden Tree. For the second mobbing, Heavenly Sweets wasn’t announced until the morning of the event. Why keep the target business a secret? Officials said this is a covert, suspense-building operation; plus, who doesn’t love solving a mystery?

“We’re looking at possibly naming the location a couple days in advance so those who can’t attend can go a day before,” said Shonkwiler. “We want it to work really well for the business being mobbed.”

The chamber plans to host additional Cash Mob Noblesville events in the future. For more information, call Shonkwiler at 773-0086. More information about the Noblesville Chamber of Commerce is available on its Facebook page, Twitter (@NoblesvilleCOC) and Web site (www.noblesvillechamber.com).

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