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National Cash Mob Day Misses Local Small Businesses

Burgeoning movement looks to support local businesses with flashmob-style shopping.

You know those Groupons you love so much? The ones that let you sample random businesses, restaurants, and experiences—or just get that massage you're always wanting—on the cheap? Turns out, your local small businesses aren't the biggest fans.

Groupons, many say, might help clean a store out of one piece of inventory, but otherwise don't bring in what small businesses really want—new customers who keep coming back. On top of that, Groupons can be expensive to purchase for perennially cash-strapped neighborhood digs. 

That's where Cash Mobs come in. Organized a bit like a flashmob—in this case, through a Facebook poll and via Twitter—they get local residents to spend around $20 each at a local small business.

"A large group of people goes in all at once, and spend(s) a little money on what that business has to offer, be it merchandise, food, drink, or whatever," says the CashMobMpls Facebook page. "It's that easy. By supporting small, locally owned businesses, we can help out those that make Minneapolis, St. Paul, and the Twin Cities the unique area that it is."  

While Southwest Minneapolis retailer Moss Envy was the subject of one such Cash Mob earlier this week, it looks like local retailers like have lost out to Northeast t-shirt store i like you and the Northside's Goddess of Glass for this weekend's event, itself part of National Cash Mob Day.

The idea may be in its early stages, only attracting a few dozen shoppers at any one time according to a Star-Tribune story from earlier this month, but it could grow larger.

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