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You've Never Seen A Cash Mob Quite Like This, Rochester

Here's why you should sign up right now to be part of the first-of-its-kind Downtown Rochester Cash Mob.

A cash mob with a twist is about to have a pilot run in our construction-filled downtown.

Independence Innovations, a Rochester-based business incubator, is inviting shoppers to descend upon downtown Rochester on June 21 for five and a half hours of spending — and fun.

David Spencer, the company's director, said the cash mob's purpose is to provide "extreme coupon bargains" for shoppers and a cash stimulus support for downtown businesses. 

Cash mobs normally invite shoppers to one particular business for a short amount of time. Rochester's cash mob will involve several of the businesses and will happen from 2 to 7:30 p.m.

Here's how it will work:

  • Shoppers will sign up to receive text message coupons every 30 minutes during the time of the cash mob. They'll move from store to store to get the bargains.
  • At each shop, they'll show the message on their phone to get in on the deal. 
  • An "afterglow" party at will allow shoppers to show off their purchases; those who spend at least $50 downtown during the day will be entered into a drawing for door prizes. 

To participate in the cash mob, merchants will pay a $50 fee.

“We believe that this is one of the very first cash mobs anywhere in the country to use a shopper’s mobile or smart phone for text message advertising, special bargains and cost saving coupons that move the mob from store-to-store," Spencer said.

"This is a unique and convenient way for mob shoppers to search for special promotions with text messages promoting several merchants in the Rochester principal shopping district in one afternoon.”

Spencer said if the program is successful, he and his company will market it to other downtowns. 

PocketCents and TextRipple, two southeast Michigan digital media companies, will help with the technology aspect of the event. The OU Branch of the MSU Federal Credit Union, The Cupcake Station and Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr & Huber are sponsors of the event. 

Businesses are signing up now; , , F, and  are among the businesses that so far have agreed to participate and offer extreme coupons. 

Here's how to sign up:

  • Like Rochester Cash Mob on Facebook.
  • Send a text message to 411669 with the words "RochCashMob." You will receive a message back, instantly, confirming you are registered to receive the text message coupon deals.
  • Scan the QR code attached to this story. You will need to submit your name, email and mobile number to participate. 

Then, on June 21, all that's left is to show up from 2 to 7:30 p.m. and shop! You will be alerted via text message of the special deals at each downtown location.

Are you a business wanting to participate or learn more? Call coordinator Nancy Caldwell at 248-453-5613 or send an email to nancy.independenceinnovations@gmail.com.

Sue Kline June 07, 2012 at 03:14 PM
I am surprised they are charging the merchants $50 to participate. They are suffering enough with the construction as it is. This wonderful idea should be a gift to the merchants for withstanding the construction!!
Carol Jackson June 07, 2012 at 06:34 PM
I agree with Sue.
Carol Jackson June 07, 2012 at 06:46 PM
One question & one suggestion: If I give whoever is in charge my email & my mobile phone number, will that data ONLY be used for this event (unless I voluntarily agree for it to be used elsewhere)? I get too much spam on email (& don't want more) & I get very little spam on my cell (text or voice) & don't want to start. So I won't give out that info without some privacy protections. My suggestion (not for this event but perhaps to help the Rochester merchants generally) is how feasible would it be for at least some of the businesses vending carts outside of downtown? As a resident of Rochester Hills, I would be totally supportive of RH sharing some of its unused space. The landlords of: + the ex-Whole Foods location on Walton, west of Livernois, + the ex-Borders & ex-World Import locations on Rochester, south of Avon, & + the ex-Bed, Bath, & Beyond location on Rochester (south of Hamlin) would possibly benefit if, for a moderate rent, various merchants had samples of their wares in locations more accessible to shoppers. Is it too late to try this? Would the different cities put up too many licensing issues? Surely RH's interests are so enmeshed with those of Rochester that some sharing, some tolerance, & some help would be welcome to all residents.
Kristin Bull (Editor) June 07, 2012 at 09:14 PM
Good question, Carol, about the potential for spam. We asked organizers about this; here is what they had to say: "The text message sign-in  is only for this "Rochester Cash Mob" event and will not be made available to any third parties for spam or other marketing purposes.  This is a one day and one time event.  If the cash mob shopping participants wish to participate in future events in our area, we would wish to encourage them to register again for another cash mob for that program again."
Erin June 08, 2012 at 12:09 AM
Cool. I was wondering when a Cash mob would hit Roch/RH.
Joshua Raymond June 08, 2012 at 03:58 PM
Sue, it takes time and money to organize and operate such an event. If merchants see this as a valuable form of advertising, they can enlist. If they don't, they aren't required to sign up. I think this is a great idea and probably more effective than a standard coupon. The participants are already in the area and are awaiting directions on where to go next. People will go into stores that they never would have otherwise.
John Ponitz June 14, 2012 at 03:20 PM
It is not clear from the web that people who do not have "smart phones" will be able to participate with text only phones. For security reasons, I do not link my phone to email, and texting does not support scannable feeds.
Tiffany Dziurman Stozicki June 14, 2012 at 03:38 PM
McGregor Elementary just did a similar event called "McGregor Loves Main Street," in downtown Rochester the weekend of June 8-10. Parents and students were encouraged to shop and dine in downtown Rochester and received special incentives and discounts from select merchants for doing so. All together, McGregor families invested over $2,000 in the downtown in one weekend. The PTA sponsored an ice cream party for the classroom who turned in the most receipts from their weekend of shopping. The winning class, Mrs. Hutt's second grade, turned in a whopping 21 receipts and won the ice cream party. Rochester Mayor Stuart Bickson served the ice cream, too! The McGregor PTA is already planning another shopping weekend when school returns in the fall.
Mary Beth Johnson June 18, 2012 at 11:35 AM
How long is the coupon good for once it reaches your phone? Thanks.
Christine Laikind June 18, 2012 at 11:40 AM
Mary Beth Johnson, that coupon is good for that Thursday, June 21st from 2 pm til 7:30 pm.

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