September 10, 2020 | Community Spotlight: Cash Mobs in Main Street Las Vegas | By: Abby Armato, Communications Coordinator, NMSC |
Promotion for the weekly Las Vegas NM Cash Mob. Photo credit: MainStreet de Las Vegas
MainStreet de Las Vegas has been successful in helping save their local small businesses, reporting no business closures during the pandemic. One of their secrets for success? Cash Mobs.
“The Las Vegas NM Cash Mob seeks to meet some of the challenges presented by the new coronavirus,” said Michael Peranteau, Executive Director of MainStreet de Las Vegas. “These challenges are unprecedented and therefore require our community to come together in equally unprecedented ways. Cash Mob is one of the ways that we have come together.”
Using Facebook Live to host a QVC-esque online sales event, MainStreet de Las Vegas’s approach has given their community a new way to safely support local businesses. By the end of August, the Las Vegas NM Cash Mob had hosted events for 10 different local businesses over the course of 10 weeks. These events are widely popular, attracting hundreds of viewers from their local community, other New Mexico towns, and even neighboring states. In addition to impressive engagement, these cash mob events have also been impressive financially. Since their first event on June 17th, they have raised over $40,000.
The Las Vegas NM Cash Mob focuses on highlighting one business a week, ranging from antiques stores to candy shops. The operations for each virtual event is set up inside the small business. A camera and small crew are joined by the small business owners and the event’s hosts—usually two MainStreet de Las Vegas Board members. The event is kicked off by introducing the small business owners, hearing their small business stories, and then giving the viewers at home a tour of the interior and exterior of the store. These elements create the intimate feeling of being physically at the local business.
Over the course of the event, items for sale are held up with an item number and price tag. Oftentimes, the small business owner will share more about the items—a description of the local artist, where the product comes from, how to further customize an order. Viewers at home are then able to comment throughout the livestream, indicating the items they wish to purchase.
Viewers’ comments are more than just the ordering of items—they crack jokes, share advice, or further recommend items to one another. That social element is another great bonus of the cash mob approach, said Peranteau. “Not only do we sell really well, but it is a way for people in this rural area to stay in contact.”
MainStreet de Las Vegas was inspired and mentored by neighboring Main Street program Raton MainStreet, whose cash mob initiative we featured in a COVID-19 Community Response Roundup earlier this year.
“It is so easy and so successful,” said Peranteau. “I don't know why more small towns are not doing Cash Mobs.”
MainStreet de Las Vegas gives special thanks to the Santa Fe Community Foundation, their volunteers, all of their merchants, their cameraman Jacob Erickson, and the Main Street de Las Vegas Board of Directors. The Las Vegas NM Cash Mob was founded by volunteers Jeanne Marie Crockett, Patrick Alarid, Sara Jo Mathews, Reina Fernandez, Adolfo Castillo, Rose Contreras-Taylor, and Executive Director Michael Peranteau.