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The #BuffCashMob Returns

Filed under: Activism

Do you want to make a difference in your community? Do you like social media? Are you someone who digs doing cool stuff with cool people? Do you love supporting local small business? Well, welcome to the #BuffCashMob! We’ll be mobbing the next business on Friday, January 6th.

I’ve organized several of these events over the past year and since the idea was highlighted in the Wall Street Journal yesterday, it seemed like an opportune time to do it again.

The first known cash mob was the brainchild of Chris Smith. The 37-year-old from Buffalo, N.Y., says the idea stemmed from his realization that consumers, including his wife, tend to flock to smaller establishments when a bargain is available through the daily-deal social-networking sites including Groupon Inc. and LivingSocial Inc.

“Why do we need a discount to support good, solid, local businesses?” he asks.

He used Twitter and Facebook to rally more than 100 people to purchase wine at City Wine Merchant on Aug. 5. Business that day tripled, according the store’s president, Eric Genau. “We have clients that would have taken a lot longer to get here or never would have gotten here at all if not for that,” Mr. Genau says.

This is a tough economy and many small businesses in Buffalo and WNY are looking for ways to increase cash flow. That’s where we, the organized social media denizens of Western New York, come in. Businesses like City Wine Merchant and many others have made significant investments into our community. They are rebuilding this city and working to make it a better place and we should return their investment with one of our own.

Rather than do the slacktivist thing, posting links to businesses we like and writing on their Facebook pages, let’s get out, en masse, and show them some straight up cash love. Buy their goods, pay for their services, patronize their establishments. And have a great time doing it!

The goal will be to get ~100 people to “flash mob” a local establishment and spend $10-$20 each on the goods and services offered. No discounts, no coupons, no special deals. Just support our local merchants by spending $10 in their place of business. Think of it as a reverse-Groupon. Instead of businesses offering crazy discounts to get people to mob their stores, the Buffalo hivemind is going to take the initiative and spend money for goods & services at posted prices. The best way to promote and grow Buffalo business is to support and patronize them.

It’s that easy.

I’ll take nominations for businesses who will get a visit from the #BuffCashMob on the AV Daily blog or by email to starting today. I’d prefer you choose businesses who are members of  Buffalo First!. Their full, sortable, and searchable membership listing can be found by clicking here.

We’ll also keep our eyes on Twitter to check for other nominations there as well, but make sure you use the #BuffCashMob hashtag so we’ll know to look for it. Your nomination should tell us something about the business, what they sell and why they deserve some #BuffCashMob love. Lets show local businesses that social media isn’t just about nerds talking about “branding”, that it’s about bringing people in the door to spend some cash.

Here’s a video from the first event (shot and edited by Marc Odien of


  • Kirk

    Westside Stories is an amazing place and I am sure would appreciate the business!

  • MichaelK

    Reimagine Furniture on Elmwood is a cool and unique store with items in all price ranges. Always fun stopping in there.

  • I have 2 nominations, sorry if that’s not allowed.

    Chow Chocolat because everyone can use a delicious hot drink on a January day in Buffalo. And because their homemade chocolate is incredible and more people need to try it.

    Animal Outfitters because they have such a cool store and are one of the few independent pet stores around and one of the few stores in Buffalo that you can actually bring your pet into!

    • Two nominations is cool, we’ll be putting the nominations up for a full vote next week, so, the more the merrier.

  • I second the WestSide Stories nomination!

  • Dan

    I third Westside Stories!

  • Ian

    Paperback Trading Post. The owner (Gerry) is a great guy, and knows that store in and out. He also happens to be severely disabled, and is now in Mercy Hospital. Please see their website for more info:
    They are also a member of Buffalo First

  • Pauldub

    I’ll go with Record Theatre. New and used cd’s, vinyl, movies, books. Friendly people to help you find what you’re looking for, and they can order what you can’t find.

  • Dwayne

    GiGi’s Soul Food on East Ferry. Great food, great atmosphere and a family business.

  • Record Theatre – they’ve kept 2 locations open despite the constant threat to indie music stores across the nation. Further, Buy Local Music – they’ve got the most in stock, and Buffalo bands are businesses, too!

  • GiGi’s? None of these white bread Artvoice people going down there. White Buffalo First!

  • OutWithCollins

    Love the idea of West Side Stories and then, once there, people can pop over to the gallery across the street, Sweetness 7 for a hot chocolate/coffee and then over to the West Side Bazaar. Woops-that was four suggestions.

  • Anchoring the other end of Lafayette since CBWers were babies? I think Record Theatre could definitely use the love: third!

  • chester

    Not to take anything away from Animal Outfitters, but Elmwood Pets is also locally owned and you can take your pet in with you. But maybe a pet store’s not such a great choice since some people don’t have pets.

    In keeping with Dwayne’s suggestion (and City Wine), it would be great to see a destination that was a little off the beaten track for the majority of participants.

  • I like GiGi’s, as well — especially the parking-pass special:

  • The Broadway Market. It pretty much has something for everyone: candles, chocolates, baked goods, groceries, Polish stoneware, and a new “Kiss My Dupka, I’m Polish” t-shirt if your old one is too beat up to wear to classy establishments. It’s one business that definitely needs community support, and I’d also suggest Five Points Bakery on Rhode Island.

  • Joe

    I would like to nominate Nadia’s Tast of Soul on Allen. I stopped there and the food was amazing and the service even better.

  • I’d like to second the notion of an off-season visit to The Broadway Market, it’s two different places the easter/xmas market and the rest of the time market.

  • ben

    GiGi’s or Broadway Market would be sweet. How about the new Canvas @ 1206 on Hertel? Tough time of year to open a new restaurant. Also like the Record Theatre idea. What about Doris Records, Spiral Scratch or Record Baron?

  • Don’t forget about us! Queen City Prints is a Buffalo based web gallery providing affordable, original artwork by some of the area’s finest artists.

  • Greg

    Chris, pretty cool that you were in WSJ.

  • @Marcus: Promoting east side businesses through racebaiting — yeah, that’s the ticket!

    The link on your name directs to The Criterion. Are you involved in some way with that publication? If so, I’d think you of all people would be attuned to the reprehensibility of that kind of behavior.

    No one, of any race, wants to be or should have to be on the receiving end of racebaiting. Buffalo needs to move past that kind of thing.

  • Broadway Market or Doc Sullivan’s…

  • Michele J

    The Broadway Market

  • Dave Ruch

    Awesome idea!!