Downtown Lawrence, Inc. knows there likely won't be a of shortage of Black Friday shoppers storming the aisles of big-box stores. But come Saturday it's hoping those shoppers won't forget about smaller businesses, either.
The organization, which promotes downtown merchants, will host a Cash Mob event on Nov. 30 as part of Small Business Saturday, a nationwide movement that encourages shoppers to support independent businesses after the dust settles from Black Friday.
"It's tough to be in the restaurant or retail business and when you have competition from the big-box stores," said Sally Zogry, Downtown Lawrence, Inc.'s executive director. "One would hope [people] would be willing to then come down and support a business and business owner… who's keeping money in the community."
The Cash Mob begins at 9:30 a.m. on the US Bank Plaza at 9th and Massachusetts streets. It will feature coffee from Z's Divine Espresso, music by the Santa Station from LawrenceHits.com, giveaways and an appearance by Santa Claus.
Fortuity, a clothing store, will also collect new and unwrapped toys for Toys for Tots, giving out a $5 gift card to anyone who donates, Zogry said.
The event at the plaza will last about a half-hour, Zogry said. Attendees will then be turned loose and asked to spend $20 at any downtown businesses.
Zogry said 30-40 businesses will offer special discounts as part of the Cash Mob. She said a list of participating storefronts, and the deals they will offer, will be made available on Downtown Lawrence, Inc.'s website and Facebook page this week.
"Those people (business owners) are extremely dedicated to maintaining our downtown as a destination for shopping, dining and entertainment," Zogry said. "Obviously, this is a great tie-in to help promote those businesses and help ensure we keep those kinds of businesses in business."