An advocacy group for local businesses in Central New York organized the first "Cuse Mob" on Saturday by inviting people through Facebook and Twitter to spend $10 at an independently owned craft and gift shop on Syracuse's North End. As a local band played outside, an estimated 200 people visited Craft Chemistry in just an hour.
“Not only is it a local store, but it's featuring local artists... how much more local could you get?” said Briana Kohlbrenner, Craft Chemistry's owner. Kohlbrenner sells locally created crafts and gifts in her shop on North Salina Street.
The organization SyracuseFirst modeled Cuse Mob after the 'Cash Mob' phenomenon.
Bloggers debate whether the idea of a Cash Mob started in Cleveland, Ohio or Buffalo, New York, but the idea has caught on quickly as a way to support local, independently owned businesses.
Kohlbrenner says that although the event gave her a spike in sales, the real value laid in the visibility and opportunity to interact with new patrons.
“There's a lot of new faces in here. Everyone's really taking their time, looking around, which is wonderful. I feel like these people are going to come back,” Kohlbrenner said.