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Back in the spring I picked up on an interesting new shop local movement that emerged in New York last Autumn.
I discussed the idea with Richard from Bowes and Bounds and we were hoping to get the UK's first 'cash mob' going locally in May. For one reason and another that didn't work out and Hackney have pipped us to the post. I still think it would be a great idea to get something set up soon for Harringay.
Not sure what a cash mob is? Many of you will have heard about 'flash mobs' - groups of people, who assemble suddenly in a place, perform an unusual and seemingly pointless act and then disperse.
A cash mob is similar. It's a group of people who pledge to buy items at a local business that could use the trade. They meet at an agreed time, spend an agreed amount and usually link a social activity for those involved, like all going for a drink, or a coffee together. The purpose is primarily to support valued local businesses and also to provide another chance for locals to meet up in a fun environment. With me so far?
There are a number of businesses that are worthy contenders to be the recipient of the first mob and after much discussion and deliberation Harringay Market has been chosen. This is a great, new friendly Market that's grabbed attention in Time Out, the Evening Standard and most recently the Daily Telegraph, but it still needs to consolidate and scale up local support to ensure the various stall holders have reason to keep coming back.
Jessica, who runs it, has managed to find some truly fabulous traders for the market. There’s a terrific choice of delicious food, to eat there or take away, there are superb craft stalls and there’s plenty more besides. If you haven’t already been there, then this is a fantastic opportunity to come and support this welcome addition to Harringay. It runs from 11am-3pm every Sunday at North Harringay Primary School in Falkand Road.
I've been talking to a few locals ands there seems to be agreement that a cash mob would be a hugely positive thing for the community to do to support the market. So on Sunday September 23rd Harringay will witness its first ever Cash Mob. And you are very much encouraged to be part of it.
To be part of the 'cash mob', you need to pledge to spend at least £10 at the market. Aim to arrive at around 1.00pm. Come with a crisp £10 note, as we’ll be taking photographs for HoL and to cover the print side of things, we'll make sure that we get the local press involved. We'll be wanting the mob to wave notes above their heads for a true cheesy local media pic!
After the photos etc, you can enjoy a very pleasant hour or so at the market, tasting delicious food, picking up something for dinner and generally having a good time. If the weather’s good, then we’ll head to a local park after this for a picnic, so you might want to pick up some of the salad, bread or cheese while you’re there too.
We'll try and get music and entertainment for kids on the Sunday too, as we really want it to feel like a big party.
The whole point of this cash mob is to help raise the profile of the Market and to celebrate having it here and also to emphasise the strength of this community. I do hope you’ll get behind it and look forward to seeing some of you on Sunday September 23rd.
We need you to help with the marketing too! If you're on Twitter, please get tweeting about it - use the #cmobharringay tag; if you're on Facebook, tell you're friends about it, if you're on the phone, call your friends, if you're on the street, just stand up and shout!
That sounds like a good idea. Count me in. Is there a specific place in the market we should meet?
Any thoughts? Outside the gate or inside somewhere?
>>new shop local movement
hey - this is not new, it's the future for localities, but it's not new - remember me going on about carrotmob Hugh, of which this is a version? It's part of why I like being involved with the Transition movement - good ideas.
The thing you could consider adding (maybe after this works) is some more direct payback for the community - I agree that nurturing the market is a payback worth obtaining, but part of the glory of the carrotmob idea (the 'opposite of boycott') is to bring about beneficial change - we pay you in increased turnover to 'green' your business etc.
So, is there a change that would make the market more sustainable that the community could invest in?
I'd quite like to see a Harringay Pound (like the Transition Brixton Pound - the money sticks around).
Who would be chosen to appear on the notes? Crouch End (where I live) would doubtless have the Crouch End Guinea...
I like the idea of a carrot mob. Thanks Chris. Cash mobs achieve sone of the same ends, but they are different. All the stuff I can find tells me that cash mobs started in New York in 2011. Perhaps you know different.
Can we count on your support, Chris? Can you bring Crouch End with you?
Totally supportive Hugh, congrats on yet another excellent idea made real! I think I can best help by spreading the word, having access to quite a number of email lists etc. If I could bring Crouch End anywhere, it'd be closer to Harringay - you guys often feel way ahead of us to me...
First Carrotmob project I was aware of was in the good ole US of A early in 2008 - local shops were asked to bid to devote a percentage of the increased turnover to lowering the carbon footprint and an off-licence won, spending 22% of the $9k they gained (in just three hours of 'mob' shopping) on lowering their carbon footprint by installing more energy-efficient lighting etc.
Here's their 4"25' report:
Fantastic idea - count me in. Will get it out on Twitter too.
Will definitely be there and will pass the message on! What a good idea. I just received this link from Transition Crouch End so the word is getting out!
CORRECTION CORRECTION CORRECTION CORRECTION CORRECTION CORRECTION CORRECTION
I just sent out a correction as the email you got said the Cashmob was this Saturday - it's next Saturday of course! Sorry for any confusion.
..or even NEXT SUNDAY! (Thanks Chris!)
Ah - didn't read things properly. I can't come as I will be participating in London Open House all weekend. Such a shame.
Yep I like the idea of Carrot mob and would like to support one in Harringay. It's Procurement gone local.
I'm not around on Sunday 23rd so can't suggest anything about the market. Hmm next time we organise HOL drinks, maybe we could do a Carrot mob on the local pubs / bars (though personal preference through experience is probably why the Salisbury is a popular choice).
Further afield, we could do a CM on Cycle shops in Haringey and neighbouring boroughs. I would certainly prefer to buy a new bike that was produced within 500 miles or that had been transported using wind power. That's awesome.
Good idea! Hugh is promoting the cash mob idea as the market is already doing good stuff - all it needs is our custom to flourish.
Maybe a carrotmob is only useful if change is needed. It's sort of like a bribe really - we'll spend with you if you measurably improve.
A question then is, is there an enterprise we'd spend more with if they were, say, greener?
Maybe we mass-spend with a local business if they'd agree to source their stuff more locally?
In Green Lanes, for instance, are any of the shops buying stuff from far away they could buy from each other?
In doing my small bit helping organise the Crouch End Festival this year, I was really pleased to work a little with Dunns Bakery - it's so nice to see a real family business (five generations!) that's lasted so long - makes Crouch End a better place. They have deliberately bought local for decades, helping other local businesses. So their yeast and flour comes from as nearby as possible - when they make stuff with fish in it they buy from the local fishmonger etc. They could maybe get it cheaper from further away, but they are better than that.
People sometimes say that, as individuals, we can't do much to change the economy but here is something everyone can do every time they shop. I read recently that 82p of every £1 spent in a local shop benefits the local economy whereas only 13p stays here if spent in a chain. Local shops tend to use parts of their profit to buy locally, hire a local accountant etc whereas the chain exports the profits, never to be seen again.
I think that the HoL business group and the local traders association would be delighted to work with us on this - I wonder if there are enough people who feel the same?