At first, Vanissa Young was overwhelmed and excited — and that was before a “mob” descended on Young’s north-central Chandler beauty supply store.
With an economy that’s been anything but kind to small business owners in recent years, the Greater Phoenix Black Chamber of Commerce is hoping to give local entrepreneurs a boost through a series of events it’s calling “cash mobs.”
First up: Get Sassy Beauty Supply. The group “mobbed” the store, located on Arizona Avenue between Ray and Warner roads, Tuesday evening for one hour of scheduled spending.
Cash mobs are a play on the exceedingly-popular “flash mobs” that require a group of people to meet at a specific location at a specific time to perform or dance. The performance is traditionally done in public in front of people who initially have no idea it’s going to happen.
For cash mobs, participants don’t perform. Rather, they open their wallets and spend their cash at an unsuspecting small business grateful for a boost.
The GPBCC picked Get Sassy – a shop owned by Young specializing in products serving African-Americans, but also carrying name brands like Neutrogena and L’Oreal – for its first cash mob event. A group of about 30 including fellow business owners, chamber members, friends and family showed up Tuesday evening for the mob.
GPBCC chairman Kerwin Brown had the idea to bring the cash mob, to Chandler as a pick-me-up for one of the chamber’s members.
“I saw it on one of the morning shows and thought that it would be a great idea for us to do,” Brown said.
“The idea makes sense. It can really help a small business not only during the time of the cash mob, but the name recognition and coverage we have received will help this business for a long time,” Brown added. “At first we weren’t sure where we were going to do our first one, but then we found out that the complex where Get Sassy is located experienced a fire not to long ago. We felt it was our responsibility to help one of our members that was in the complex get back on their feet.”
Young was thrilled to be chosen as the first cash mob location for the chamber.
“When they called me and told me, I was sort of overwhelmed and excited all at the same time,” Young said. “We have very little exposure since we don’t have our name on the marquee of the complex, so I was excited for the opportunity to have our business name get out there.”
Get Sassy has been open since October 2009 and has survived the fire and a lack of exposure with its friendly, treat-customers-like-family approach.
“When our customers walk in they feel at home. Our customers are family as soon as they walk in the door,” Young said.
The cash mob, according to Young, brought in an estimated $400 on a Tuesday evening.
“I’m pretty sure she doesn’t have this kind of business on a Tuesday evening, so it feels good to help,” Brown said.
The Chamber plans on keeping the cash mobs going and is in the process of planning the next one in the Scottsdale area.