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Drumming up business

West Linn chamber attempts city's first cash mob
by: Lori Hall, Healthy Pet owner Amber Nurmi, right, was greeted by a cash mob, orchestrated by the West Linn Chamber of Commerce, on Saturday.

Hard times have hit businesses all across the country, including in West Linn. The chamber of commerce is trying a fun new way to help revitalize business and encourage residents to shop locally.

A cash mob hit Healthy Pet on Saturday, bringing in a small crowd of customers and additional revenue to the store.

Chamber member Thomas Frank gets credit for bringing the cash mob movement to the city. He worked with the chamber president Linda Neace to choose a worthy business and organize the event.

'This is a store that moved from the top of the hill and had a hard time keeping their doors open and paying rent,' Frank said.

Healthy Pet recently moved from its former location on Salamo Road near Safeway to its new spot next to the Walmart Neighborhood Market on Highway 43.

Frank said the chamber of commerce in Sherwood has been holding monthly cash mobs with success.

'This is a new adventure for us,' Neace said.

A cash mob is based off of the flash mob idea, where a group of people secretly organize to meet at a set location and time to infiltrate their buying dollars to a store needing the income.

Saturday's event asked participants to commit to spending $20 at the location, which was announced at the 2 p.m. meet-up. About a dozen folks showed up, including Frank and Neace, as well as City Councilor Jenni Tan and an employee from Dog Club of West Linn.

'I think it's a great idea. I think we need something new,' said Christina Romaniuk, chamber office manager.

Frank said he wanted to help out a local business owned by a local family who employs local residents.

Because it was the chamber's first attempt at organizing a cash mob, the event was not a complete surprise. In fact, Healthy Pet owner Amber Nurmi organized her store's grand opening and ribbon cutting with the cash mob.

Nonetheless, Nurmi appreciated the influx of customers.

'I think it's a great way to encourage people to shop locally,' she said. "I think it's a great idea, and not just because I'm a recipient.'

Nurmi said she would be sure to participate in future cash mobs, which will be planned monthly and announced through the chamber.

For more information about cash mobs or the West Linn chamber of commerce, visit westlinnchamber.com.