It’s a Cash Mob! #citizenbedford

goldings_shopfrontSo what is a cashmob? It’s where people meet, visit a shop and all spend some money there at the same time. Here in Bedford we also give some friendly feedback to the shop keeper before we leave.

It’s a brilliant idea, because not only are we talking about supporting independent businesses, we’re opening our wallets and spending our cash.

The business itself gets great free publicity too,  because all the Bedford cashmobs so far have been reported in our local papers as well as the story being circulated on Twitter and Facebook.

Last Saturday I took part in my first cashmob and recorded this audio from somewhere between the spades and brooms in Goldings Ironmongers in Bedford High Street:

I have to say it was great fun, too. We all gathered at the Silver Faces (a pair of statues in the town centre) at 12pm sharp to hear which shop had be picked from the proverbial hat. Except this time, there was no need to even use a hat because all the nominations were for Goldings.

Everyone who has spent any time in Bedford will have a soft spot for Goldings. It’s been in the town since 1867 and sells, well, everything! It’s the place that we all went with our mums and dads to buy a bag of screws, a new can opener or some lightbulbs. My Grandad used to buy his model-making bits and pieces there. It’s the kind of shop that has almost been replaced by big DIY stores, but luckily for us, this one is still there.

The benefits don’t stop once the cashmob is over, though. Other local independent businesses offered vouchers to cashmobbers to spend in their shops and restaurants, and many of us went on to grab lunch or coffee and a cake afterwards. I bought my rotary cheese grater from Goldings, then took my kids to re-live a memory from my own 1970s childhood by buying some penny sweets from Arcadia Sweetshop. Except they were now 4p each. 🙂

It wasn’t just about nostalgia for me, though. Most of this was arranged using social media, and as a social media nut, I love the way Twitter and Facebook are being used to gather people together in the real, unvirtual world to support local bricks-and-mortar businesses. We hear so much about the Internet destroying our town centres, but this shows that it really can be used to help breathe life back into them.

Right up my street, eh?

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