Saturday, April 14, 2012

Think Outside the Box Store

The sun is shining, a pigeon couple is eating the expired cereal I scattered in the backyard, freshly clean laundry is actively drying on the line, Robin Gibb is starting a joke with his brothers on my iTunes, our grey girl cat, Lily, is sleeping peacefully next to me, and the stiff breeze is keeping the pulp steam below the tree line.  This is the sensory present from my office window.

I've long pleaded and tweeted for things "good" about this city.  I'm like a spelunker looking for the light in the darkness... or fog.  Lo and behold, I've stumbled upon something that fits that category - the Uptown small business merchants of Saint John.

Ever since joining Holly to found a local cash mob I've been witness to a lot of positive energy.  The retail business owners seem to bind together like miners searching for release after a collapse.  Shop life is perilous in such a tiny, volatile market and they seem very aware that positivity is what is needed to survive and, hopefully, thrive.

A cash mob is a group of people who come together voluntarily at a predetermined location to find out where they will venture out and "mob" one lucky store with twenty dollars of their very own hard-earned money to spend.  It is hoped this influx of cash one retail owner receives will lead to an awareness of the importance of local business and local stores, leading to long-term customers who are willing to think twice before heading to box stores for every item on their shopping list.

I don't know if this cash mob thing will accomplish these ideals or not, but while the twenty plus people headed toward Robin's BeadWorks I was very aware that I enjoyed being a part of the seemingly minority that are actually doing something about making their city a better place instead of just complaining or sticking their heads in the sand and pretending that Saint John is Utopian.  Both of these strategies accomplish the same end result.

The next cash mob for Saint John is scheduled for Saturday, April 21st at 2:30 pm and the mob will meet outside Barbour's General Store Museum.  I hope even more people show up to show their support for those willing to put their livelihood on the line to stay in this city.