By Richard Whitby
The Daily Star
---- — Oneonta’s first “cash mob” will spend its money tonight at a Shakedown Street, a fair-trade and consignment store at 177 Main St., the event organizer said Monday.
Organizer Mark Kleszczewski said Shakedown Street was chosen via a vote conducted through the Oneonta Cash Mob page on Facebook. A total of 427 votes were cast, he said, with Shakedown Street receiving 199.
Kleszczewski said he didn’t think 427 people would show up, though.
“I would be absolutely thrilled if we got that many people,” he said Monday.
“If we get at least 20 or 30 people coming down, I think that’ll be a great first step for Oneonta,” he added.
A cash mob is a variation on a flash mob, except that, rather than performing some sort of stunt, cash mobbers agree to spend a minimum amount in this case $10 to $20 at a selected business or in a specific area.
The initiative has the support of the Greater Oneonta Historical Society, Main Street Oneonta, the Otsego County Chamber and the Oneonta mayor’s office, Kleszczewski said.
Julia Goff, program manager for Main Street Oneonta, said her group has helped Kleszczewski get the word out.
“Our board has been really excited about this initiative and think it’s really, really unique and new and something exciting, especially at this time of year,” she said.
“One of our larger initiatives with Main Street Oneonta is to do shop-local campaigns, so this fit right in.”
Rachel Lutz Jessup, vice president of the group, said she, too, was “very pleased that Mark is creating more excitement downtown and helping to support our local merchants.”
“We have a very unique downtown that we should all be very proud of and continue to work at keeping it a vital part of the Oneonta experience,” she said.
Participants in the cash mob will meet at the connector between Main Street and the Oneonta parking garage at 5:15 p.m. before proceeding to Shakedown Street. They will gather at the B Side Ballroom and Supper Club in Clinton Plaza about 6 p.m. for drinks and snacks.
Vicki Reiss, Shakedown Street’s owner, will be handing out recyclable Shakedown Street tote bags to all cash mob customers and plans to donate 10 percent of sales from the event to the Harpers Heart Foundation, Kleszczewski said.