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'Cash mob' shoppers in high street spree

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: April 04, 2012

  • Seven-year-old Jago Sheaff ready for action.

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SHOPPERS "opened people's eyes" to the range of goods on offer in Liskeard by flooding the town with 'cash mobbers' as part of the bid to become a Portas Pilot.

Retail guru Mary Portas is working with the Government to help rejuvenate town centres and will assist a lucky few with their plans.

Liskeard's determined bid team have been busy highlighting the town's strengths, attracting more than 40 people to a weekend 'cash mob' – a spin on the 'flash mob' where a group of people meet in a public place to carry out an unusual or entertaining activity.

The shoppers dressed in red and hit Liskeard's shops to show the variety of goods available for £10.

Co-organiser Allison Livingstone said people really made an effort, including those who did not generally shop locally.

Mrs Livingstone said: "We were excited so many people turned up. It was lovely to see people wanting to support their local shops, and put their money where their mouth was.

"We hope people will think twice about bypassing us for Truro or Plymouth, or any out of town development. Liskeard may be relatively small, but it packs a punch in the diversity of shops and products."

Popular purchases included pasties, saffron buns, bread, newspapers, vegetables and fruit, coffee and greetings cards.

Other shoppers opted for more unusual items, returning with a knife sharpener, a solar panel flower and bee, a swimming woggle and almond milk.

Mrs Livingstone said organisers heard several people remarking that items were actually cheaper than in larger stores and it let retailers know they were not on their own during a tough period of trading.

"It also brought people together and energised them about what the town team is about, and what we're trying to achieve," she said.

"We got some lovely feedback from traders saying they were busier than usual, and they loved chatting to members of cash mob recognisable by wearing red and handing over cards saying, 'You've been cash mobbed'."

Mrs Livingstone said if people just spent the £10 it was a minimum of £400 going into the local economy, but many spent considerably more.

Jan Powell, who represents Liskeard North on Cornwall Council, said: "Now that the application has been submitted it is important that we maintain the impetus we have gained."

Mrs Powell said Mary Portas was very clear many town centres would not survive and it was vital Liskeard was not one of those.

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