UPDATE: Marietta Main Street launches second round of virtual cash mobs

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MARIETTA, Ohio - UPDATE: 5/21/2020 2:30 P.M.

MARIETTA, Ohio (WTAP) - After the success of Marietta Main Street’s first lineup of virtual cash mobs, the organization has launched a second round of online events this week.

The virtual cash mobs are held via Facebook Live and support local businesses. Business owners typically join in to answer questions and talk with viewers, and participants have the opportunity to win gift cards, learn about the businesses, and more.

The first 10 cash mobs were sponsored by Huntington Bank, and Marietta Main Street has secured sponsorship from Peoples Bank for the next 10.

The first event of the new lineup was in support of Sugar Maple Boutique, and it was held on May 18, followed by Baker & Baker Jewelers on May 20. Upcoming businesses involved include Andy’s Toy Chest, The Cook’s Shop, Marietta Brewing Company, The Wellness Retreat, Riverside Artists Gallery, Modest Peacock, Gold Line Jewelers, and The Castle.

The next event, supporting Andy’s Toy Chest, will be held on Friday, May 22 at 9 P.M. The owners will be showcasing merchandise such as Melissa and Doug toys, Marvel Legends items, Barbies, and more. Participants will be given a sale code to use via the store’s website, and one person will win a $50 gift certificate, according to Nicole Alvarez, the store’s co-owner.

Alvarez, who owns the store with her husband Andy, said their grand opening happened about a week before businesses were required to close due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and many of the events and promotions they had planned to increase awareness about the store had to be canceled.

“I think [the cash mob] will give us the opportunity to let people know we’re here, and what kinds of things we have…Getting our name out there, really, is the main thing,” Alvarez said.

Those interested in the virtual cash mobs can find more information on Marietta Main Street’s Facebook page. Find that link under Related Links on the right side of this screen.

ORIGINAL STORY: 4/20/2020 1:30 P.M.

With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing, many small businesses are taking a significant financial hit. In an effort to support local businesses during this difficult time, Marietta Main Street is hosting a series of virtual cash mobs via Facebook Live that give participants the opportunity to connect and shop with Marietta vendors remotely.

The most recent event in the series featured Jeremiah’s Coffee House. The owners of the cafe appeared on Facebook Live, and attendees had the opportunity to purchase Jeremiah’s merchandise, take advantage of discounts, and more.

The series was first conceived of during a Marietta Main Street committee meeting. To date, the cash mobs, sponsored by Huntington Bank, have raised over $13,300 for participating businesses.

“With the impact of the coronavirus and our downtown businesses being closed, the bills haven’t stopped but the need for a strong, small business community in Marietta hasn’t stopped, either. This is one way that we’ve addressed the challenges that have come up because of the virus, by trying to inject revenue into the community,” said Cristie Thomas, interim executive director of Marietta Main Street.

The series includes 10 businesses, and Marietta Main Street hopes to hold cash mobs for an additional 10 after the first program concludes. So far, cash mobs have been held for The Original Pizza Place, Dad’s Primitive Workbench, Tabletop Puzzles and Games, Rockstar Wellness, Wit and Whimzy, and Jeremiah’s. Upcoming events will feature justAjar Design Press, A Unique Flower and Gift Shop, Merle Norman and More, and American Flags and Poles.

The event is a response to the many challenges business owners are facing, in terms of continuing to generate income and learning to adapt their businesses to the current situation.

“I think there’s a misnomer that because businesses are closed, everyone is just sitting around, but that’s not the case. A lot of the time, business owners are busier now than they were before because they’re adjusting to e-commerce and desperately trying to coordinate marketing and become digital so they can continue to generate revenue,” Thomas said.

Marietta Main Street has seen a strongly positive response from business owners who have participated.

“Some of the business owners said that if not for the cash mob, they weren’t sure they would have been able to make rent that month,” Thomas said.

In order to host a second series of cash mobs, Marietta Main Street will most likely need to find a new sponsor.

“I know there are a lot of larger institutions right now that are trying to find creative ways to show support for our small business community, and this is one really great way to support not only the small business community, but our organization as a non-profit who relies on revenue from public events that we can no longer hold,” Thomas said.

The next cash mob will feature justAjar Design Press, and will be held via Facebook Live on Monday, April 20 at 9:00 P.M. Those interested can find updates about upcoming cash mobs on the Marietta Main Street Facebook page.