Cash Mob spends to support local grocery storeBy Yasmine Regester / March 10, 2017
A group of local residents descended upon a Greensboro grocery store on Saturday, March 4, to do what shoppers do best.
The group, comprised of 20-30 residents, participated in the Greensboro Black’s Cash Mob Meetup which took place at The Renaissance Community Co-op grocery store on Phillips Avenue. A cash mob is a group of people who assemble at a local business to make purchases. The purpose of these mobs is to support both the local businesses and the surrounding community.
Northeast Greensboro resident Eva Griffin used this opportunity to make her first visit to the grocery store on Saturday.
“The African American community can’t have any wealth until we understand giving back the wealth to our community,” said Griffin, adding she was happy that there was finally a store that was providing the community access to fresh and healthy foods at a reasonable price.
“I’m ready to spend my dollar where it’s going to make an impact,” said Griffin.
The Northeast Greensboro community went without a grocery store for 17 years until the Renaissance Community Co-op opened on November 5, 2016, which took five years of planning and fundraising. The store is located in the former Bessemer Shopping Center, now called the Renaissance Shopping Center.
The 10,530 square-foot grocery store is equipped with a hot bar, a full-service meat department with a butcher on site, fresh fruits and vegetables and community space. The co-op’s board of directors is working on getting a bank, a healthcare clinic, pharmacy and possibly a Laundromat in the shopping center.
Co-op member Paula Pierce came to support the co-op even though she does not reside in the neighborhood.
“This is the perfect time. I tell everyone to visit the store because it’s a long time coming for the community. We need to support our communities. This store is a model for other communities to show that this can work,” said Pierce.Jackie White, owner of African American Art & More in the Four Seasons Town Centre organized the cash mob to galvanize African Americans to spend more of their dollars in their own communities.
“To understand that any dollar traveling outside of our community immediately, negatively impacts us, versus letting it stay in our communities for a longer period of time once we get paid, like other ethnicities. That is how you get fiscal growth. We as a people need to practice that more,” said White.
According to a collaborative 2013 study between the Nielson Company, a New York based market research firm, and the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) in Washington, D.C., Black buying power has increased, rising from $1.1 trillion to a forecasted $1.3 trillion by 2017.
White noted she got the idea from another cash mob group in Greensboro. She contacted the group to inquire how they select businesses to patronize and was told they didn’t have a set process; it was just whatever business group members suggested. White said she viewed the list of businesses the group had previously supported and noticed that none of them were Black owned businesses.
“For the last two years I’ve had it on my heart to do something similar but our focus would be to support Black owned businesses or businesses that are affected by the Black community supporting them,” said White.
A Black business owner herself, White says she is passionate about the cause.
“Let our collective efforts come together and bless someone else’s business. I know the impact of the Black community supporting my business and I want to share that with others,” said White.
Anitra Goode, owner of CA Cheer and Dance in Greensboro, is a small business owner herself who said she understands the importance of support from the community.
“I’m continuing to make an effort to support Black businesses all year round, not just one day a year,” she said.
Saturday’s Cash Mob attendees didn’t just come from Greensboro. Moe Smith made his first trip to the Reaissance Co-op from Colfax, N.C. with his two daughters, Mackenzie (5) and Zoe (1). Smith says he believes that putting a spotlight on Black owned businesses will be beneficial not just for the business, but also the customers.
“I hope this is the start of some great things,” said Smith.
The cash mob plans to visit a different Black owned business once a month.
Walter Davis, RCC Operations Manager noted that it is the continued community support that will help sustain this grocery store for years to come.
“Community support is very important for all local businesses, but definitely for us because it was opened by and for the community. We need sales to be able to stay open,” said Davis. “Come out and check out the great deals. We have competitive pricing and if we don’t have what you need, we can definitely get you what you need,” he added.