It’s been a crazy couple of days over on the Tacoma Cash Mob facebook page.
Established on March 14, 2012, we’ve racked up over 700 likes and analytics that many would kill to have in their first week. Something is going on here and although it’s unclear how well this effort will pan out, it is clear that this taps into something that, until now,was a bit of an unarticulated Tacoma zeitgeist.
Tacoma is bursting with entrepreneurial spirit and exertion, to wildly varying degrees of attainment, acceptance, and approval.
There are very few obvious success stories, but when they do succeed, it is largely due to the outspoken loyalty of their championing patrons, not because of reliable systemic support or any well known history of prioritizing of small business.
Tacoma small business owners seem to have two options for sustainability: toil for years in erratic gradations of obscurity and notoriety, or laboriously grind out a kind of stability and repute, but neither of these tactics have established a comforting pattern, a means of civic support, a network, any kind of professional development or mentorship, or any real reliable associations.
In fact, Tacoma’s tenacious small businesses that have found means to survive (with moments of thriving) seem to have done it with both hands firmly grasping their own bootstraps, with very little additional support, and have secured regular patronage because their neighbors and customers find them, in the simplest of terms, reliably available, and reliable producers of quality.
Consider veteran small businesses like Blitz and Co Florist, Antique Sandwich Company, Tacoma Book Center, Valhalla Coffee, 1022 South, Celebrity Cake Studio, King’s Books, Shakabrah Java, Tacoma Wine Merchants, Top of Tacoma, New Frontier Lounge, M Space Glassblowing Studio, What? Shoppe, Learning Sprout, Parkway Tavern, Rosewood Café, The Red Hot, House of Tattoo, Corina Bakery, The Johnson Candy Company and more. Even some that we’ve begun to think of as institutions have yet to cross the important five year survival mark.
We talk about Tacoma as being a place where if you really want to accomplish something, you can. All you have to do is work really hard and really consistently. And I think this is true. We have decent geography and navigability, affordable cost of living, and a population with just enough spending money.
But is this enough? I don’t think so. I think Tacoma’s small businesses deserve more and I think we can help.
I’m happy to see that we may be experiencing a cultural shift that not only supports the “anything you want to do, you can in Tacoma” mantra with a determination that’s just a bit bigger than it was before, but still occurring at the very important, very communal, very neighborhood grassroots level.
Cash mobs are about spirit and communion; they’re about acceptance, curiosity, exploration, and fun. And they’re about cold, hard support. So join in, become a part of your neighborhood, flex your citizenship, and let’s put our dollars back where we should – into our own city.
Congratulations to the first round of cash mob nominees. We have identified ten local businesses who will endure enthusiastic cash mobs in the coming months. Like the facebook page and follow @TacomaCashMob on twitter and we’ll keep you in the loop for the next call to cash mob action.
International Cash Mob Day is March 24 and although we won’t have organized the first cash mob by then, we recommend taking the opportunity to explore a local small business that perhaps you didn’t know about before.
A great place to start exploring is the nominee album on our facebook page where dozens of very different small businesses were nominated for a cash mob.