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Updated Jun 12, 2012 - 1:48 pm

'Cash mobs' give Valley businesses a boost

(Photo: Greater Phoenix Black Chamber of Commerce)

CHANDLER, Ariz. -- You've heard of flash mobs, where a big crowd meets at a certain place and time to perform a song or dance.

Now there are "cash mobs," dedicated to helping local businesses. And they're mobbing in the Valley.

"The idea came up as a way of promoting some of the businesses that are having a hard time during the struggling economy," said Kerwin Brown, president of the Greater Phoenix Black Chamber of Commerce.

The chamber decided to hold its first cash mob last Tuesday at Get Sassy Beauty Supply in Chandler.

"We put the word out through social media and our other contacts that we were going to all converge on this one business on one day and commit to spending at least $15," said Brown.

The store was chosen because the strip mall it's in is recovering from a recent fire. Brown said 50 people showed up and spent cash, with many more buying at least $15 worth of merchandise on the store's website.

Shop owner Vanessa Young was left with a lot of cash.

"As [Young] said, there's no way her receipts would have looked this good during the middle of the week if we hadn't done this for her," said Brown.

The target of the chamber's next cash mob is an ice cream shop in Old Town Scottsdale.

About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I am married to my wife Rene', who is a librarian in the Washington school district. During free time, I may be found playing basketball in the driveway with my son, Devin. He's also keeping me busy with school, Little League, and playing in chess tournaments around the Valley.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: Doug Oldham gospel concert in the 1970s at the old East High School in Phoenix.

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Northern Hills Community Church in Phoenix. We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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