Edmonton Cash Mobs help shoppers think and shop local

Not having much to do one Saturday afternoon in April, I decided to venture out to the corner of 95 Street and 108A Avenue, the location of that month’s Edmonton cash mob. I had never been to a cash mob before and I enjoyed a sense of anticipation, as I travelled to the spot. I knew I was going to support a local business but I didn’t know what type of business it would be, and the uncertainty made the event more exciting.

Upon arriving I met the event organizers and others who had come to shop. We introduced ourselves and told others about our favourite local businesses as we waited for more people to arrive. Then came the moment I was waiting for: the local business we were about to visit was introduced and we all walked over to begin our shopping.

Edmonton Cash Mobs
Zocalo, the site of April’s Edmonton cash mob.

I had the pleasure of exploring a shop I had not visited before. Zocalo is a clean, attractive store that sells plants and other gardening supplies, as well as items for your home. The well-lit shop is further brightened by cheerful ceramics and colourful plants. Customers can take a break from their browsing and sit down with a snack and coffee from Zocalo’s café – an appealing option given the store’s pleasant atmosphere. I thoroughly enjoyed browsing through the store, and made some satisfying purchases. For me, the cash mob was a great way to discover a local business – it gave me the necessary incentive to seek out a lesser-known but unique business. 

Edmonton cash mob
Some items at Zocalo, the site of April’s Edmonton cash mob


Edmonton cash mob
Polka dot pigs at Zocalo, the location of April’s Edmonton cash mob


Edmonton cash mob
Flowers sold at Zocalo, the site of the most recent Edmonton cash mob


Edmonton cash mob
More plants sold at Zocalo, the location of the most recent Edmonton cash mob

The primary purpose of cash mobs is to encourage consumers to support local businesses. As one of the event organizers, Tommy Kalita, explained to me, cash mobs get people to think about buying local. Exposing consumers to local businesses shows them that they have choices about where to shop and helps them to make conscious decisions about where they shop and why. Cash mobs also become a fun social event as people get together to shop and often go out for drinks together afterwards.

Cash mobs started in the United States following the economic downturn and have spread across the U.S. and Canada. Kalita was instrumental in bringing cash mobs to Edmonton. He tries to hold a cash mob approximately once a month; the one I attended at the end of April was the ninth Edmonton cash mob.

The next Edmonton cash mob will be held on Sunday, June 30, at 12 p.m. You can meet your fellow shoppers at corner of 97 Street and 82  Avenue. The organizers suggest bringing $20 as a spending guideline but you are not obligated to spend any more than what works comfortably with your budget. You are also welcome to go out for drinks with your fellow shoppers after you have finished shopping.

The organizers of Edmonton cash mobs purposely do not disclose the name of the business ahead of time. Their reason is that they like to “surprise people a little bit and get them to places they wouldn’t normally shop,” explains Kalita. Their strategy certainly worked on me!

You can stay up to date on upcoming Edmonton cash mobs by frequenting The Local Good’s event page (https://thelocalgood.ca/local-events/) or by liking Cash Mob Edmonton on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/CashMobEdmontonAB?fref=ts

For more information on cash mobs in general you can visit http://cash-mobs.com/about-us/