Cash mob to hit Bristol businesses

BRISTOL — Watch out Bristol businesses, you’re about to get mobbed.
Cash mobbed that is.
Planned by a loose organization known as Cash Mob Vermont, a group of unknown size will descend upon the gateway to the Green Mountains this Saturday afternoon to patronize local businesses. Organizers from Cash Mob Vermont said that at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, anyone from anywhere can meet on the Bristol green to partake in the mobbing. The only thing you need to bring is cash, at least $20 to be precise.
Cash Mob Vermont was inspired by a national movement aimed at supporting small, local businesses. So far, the Vermont group has mobbed numerous towns, including Waterbury, Montpelier and Hinesburg.
According to Scott Pellegrini, who runs the Cash Mob Vermont Facebook page and Twitter account, more than 50 people mobbed a Barre business and more than 90 people showed up in Waitsfield on March 24, which was National Cash Mob Day. In late November, when Vermont Cash Mob was in its nascent stages, more than 40 people mobbed Middlebury’s Vermont Book Shop, said bookseller Kai Stanley, who was working at the shop that day.
But Pellegrini is hoping that this weekend’s Bristol mob will be the biggest yet.
“I have high hopes for Bristol,” he said. “It’s where I grew up.”
Generally, a cash mob targets a single store. But Carol Wells, director of the Bristol Downtown Community Partnership, suggested that the cash mob in Bristol target numerous stores. Pellegrini, who prefers to take a hands-off approach when it comes to organizing cash mobs, fully supported the notion.
For those interested in attending the Bristol mob or organizing their own mob, there are several easy guidelines.
“The rules are simple,” said Pellegrini. “You show up with a $20 bill at a certain time and location, and then you go to a local business (or businesses).”
There’s also a social element.
“You have to meet three people that you didn’t know before while you’re shopping,” said Pellegrini. “The simple gesture of introducing yourself to a stranger is sort of a lost art. Then, if you can meet up afterwards to celebrate, we usually go to a local watering hole and get beers or soft drinks or whatever you want. It’s just a group of people with a shared mentality.”
Pellegrini likes the idea of the Bristol mob targeting numerous stores, but he said that the decision to do so is really up participants.
“We might (mob) one shop, but in a dream world it’ll be all the businesses on Main Street,” he said. “It just depends on how many people show up. It could be 30 it could be 300; we really have no idea.”
Reporter Andrew Stein is at [email protected].

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