The Atlantic Chamber of Commerce reports the Atlantic business community showed First Whitney Bank they accepted the Cash Mob challenge by adding 13 new businesses to the list of participants and generating nearly $3,500 in sales in under two months. First Whitney President Paul Gude said “This is exactly what we wanted to see happen, and I would further the challenge to say, we want to see more.” Forming a partnership with the Atlantic Area Chamber of Commerce, First Whitney Bank originated the idea of handing each of their 23 employees $20 and sending them to a local small business at the same time to “mob” them with cash sales.
The Chamber’s initiative to increase Local Option Sales Tax receipts and relaunch the +5 Grow Atlantic Campaign led to the team effort for the organized events. Cash Mobs have been hosted at Robinson’s Hardware, Sweet Joy Shoppe, Cappel’s and Bonnesen’s 5 & 10 in April and May. Chamber Executive Director Megan Roberts said the calls from businesses wanting to jump on board just keep coming. Roberts says “The Chamber membership is embracing the program wholeheartedly. “The majority of those who attend are being given the $20 from their employer to spend and most of them spend a little of their own cash on top of that.”
According to Roberts, social media like Facebook, YouTube, email marketing and photos have helped spread the word. The First Whitney Bank Cash Mob Challenge video went viral, reaching 1,900 views in three days. Roberts says the Chamber will “Officially re-launch the +5 Grow Atlantic campaign in mid-June. The original +5 Grow Atlantic campaign started in 2005-2006 with a study done by Iowa State University Economist Dave Swenson. His research showed a number of jobs would be created, and the general economy boosted if Atlantic shifted a simple 5 percent of its leaked spending back to a local business.
The City of Atlantic’s resolution to distribute Local Option Sales Tax funds stipulates 25 percent of the funds will be used for a Recreation Center Fund, 40 percent to Capital Improvement/Streets, 7 percent to Community Promotion Fund, and 28 percent to Progress Fund including industrial, housing, commercial development, sidewalks/pathways and Bull Creek Storm Sewers.