- Special Sections
- Public Notices
The Hardin County Chamber of Commerce has hashed out a concept it believes could drive traffic to local businesses, thereby reinforcing its focus on the Buy Local program.
The chamber will launch its first cash mob at 4:44 p.m. Tuesday inside Wild Earth Gallery & Gifts at 110 N. Main St. in Elizabethtown.
Chamber members and guests are encouraged to spend $20 during the mob, which will continue until members have a chance to visit after work.
Executive Director Brad Richardson said the cash mob has been utilized in metropolitan areas, such as Chicago, and a board member proposed the chamber try it here. Richardson believes the cash mob model will give chamber members more measurable value for their membership and provide a one-day injection of cash into the stores.
“It’s just a great way to help some of our members,” he said.
Wild Earth, which has been open in its downtown space since October, was chosen randomly out of a pot of new members, Richardson said. The plan is to host the cash mob every other month by choosing businesses through a random drawing of chamber members.
During off months, the chamber is exploring a “lunch mob” and will draw local restaurants through a similar random drawing, in which the chamber calls on members and guests to patronize the chosen establishment.
Richardson said the random drawing seemed like the most egalitarian way to highlight businesses.
“We couldn’t think of another way to make it fair for the businesses,” he said.
The drawings will focus heavily on retail and other businesses where visitors can spend money on goods. Certain businesses, such as law offices, do not fit the profile for the cash mob, he said.
LaDonna Eastman, owner of Wild Earth Gallery & Gifts, said the cash mob will give her shop the added exposure it needs in its fledgling stage.
“We’re only four months old,” she said. “A lot of people don’t even know about us yet.”
Eastman has taken advantage of local promotional and advertising routes and has worked with the chamber and the Elizabethtown-Hardin County Heritage Council to promote the downtown climate and her business, which features hand-crafted arts and crafts from local, regional and national artists. Photography, prints, handcrafted jewelry, blown glass and candles are among the original pieces housed in the gallery.
Eastman said the cash mob is a perfect conduit to highlight the value of local artistry.
“I don’t want to say we’re boycotting made in China stuff, but we are very adamant about keeping money in your local community,” she said.
Those who have stopped by the shop praised the works on display and expressed shock when finding a bonafide art gallery in Elizabethtown comparable to galleries in Louisville and larger cities, Eastman said.
The building’s exposed brick is one element detailing its historical significance, which she said has attracted eyes.
“It’s just a beautiful space,” Eastman said.
Richardson wants to lure 20 to 30 people to the gallery during the mob.
“We have high hopes,” he said.
Greg Pawley, chamber board chairman and CEO of The Cecilian Bank, said the cash mob is a positive step forward for the chamber.
“We are excited to give this new concept a try and hope it’s the first of many,” Pawley said in a written statement.
Marty Finley can be reached at (270) 505-1762 or email@example.com.