ST. GEORGE – The owners of Russo’s New York Style Pizza had no idea their restaurant would become the inaugural target of a cash-wielding mob on Saturday – that is, not until the last possible minute.
Chosen as the recipient of the inaugural run of the St. George Cash Mob on March 24 – which also happened to be “National Cash Mob Day” – a large crowd arrived at Russo’s around 2 p.m. on Saturday to show their support for a local business.
The cash mobbing was the brainchild of Dan Deceuster, who told St. George News previously that, “The purpose of the cash mob is quite simply to support local businesses. The objective is simply show up, surprise the business owner, spend money in their store all at once, and then leave.”
Deceuster got the idea for the cash mob from an Ohio lawyer who is credited with creating the concept of the cash mob last year. Participants involved in the cash mobs sign up for alerts via social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter to learn when and where to meet. By design, the alerts are given at the last minute so it can be a surprise to participants and the business owners alike.
“We like it to be a surprise, a good surprise,” Deceuster said.
Chris Hawkins, who owns and operates Russo’s with his wife, Janet Hawkins, said they “had a 30-minute heads up” about the coming mob and scrambled to get things ready. Deceuster walked in at about 1:50 p.m. and told the Hawkins and their staff there was a big crowd coming.
“It was fanatic,” Janet Hawkins said of the support as the people began to arrive. “We loved it.”
Participants were encouraged to bring a minimum of $10 and bring friends. “The more the merrier,” Deceuster said.
It was estimated that between 50 and 70 people visited Russo’s as a part of the cash mob, all ready to spend money on a meal and support a locally-owned restaurant.
“It gives us a good boost,” Chris Hawkins said.
Before Saturday, neither of the Hawkins was aware of the St. George Cash Mob. Now that they have been its initial beneficiary, both Chris and Janet Hawkins are looking forward to being involved in the next cash mobbing event.
“We’d love to be a part of it,” Janet Hawkins said.
People interested in learning about the next time and place of the St. George Cash Mob can visit the cash mob’s website, on which they can sign up for alerts as well as submit nominations for other locally-owned businesses for event consideration.
St. George News editor Mori Kessler contributed to this article.
Copyright 2012 St. George News.